Buttafuoco charged with fraud, theft

December 18, 2003|By Richard Fausset | Richard Fausset,LOS ANGELES TIMES

LOS ANGELES - Joey Buttafuoco, the former Long Island, N.Y., mechanic whose domestic dramas made him a tabloid news staple in the early 1990s, was arrested yesterday on insurance fraud charges.

Ten other owners or employees of auto repair shops in and around Los Angeles were also arrested on fraud charges as part of a sweeping, multi-agency investigation into alleged scams at Southern California garages.

The Los Angeles district attorney's office alleged that in September, Buttafuoco, co-owner of a Los Angeles auto shop, helped investigators posing as customers file fraudulent insurance claims on undamaged cars. He also prepared fraudulent car-repair estimates, and advised the undercover officers on "how to best scam" insurance companies, the statement said.

Buttafuoco, 47, who was charged with three counts of insurance fraud and one count of grand theft, is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

He became a household name in 1992 when his lover, Amy Fisher, then 17, was arrested for shooting his wife. She was convicted of assault and sentenced to five to 15 years in prison.

Fisher was released in 1999. She is a columnist for a Long Island, N.Y., newspaper.

Buttafuoco briefly served jail time for statutory rape and was placed on probation. He moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1990s.

In 1995, he served 78 days in jail for violating his probation after soliciting sex from an undercover police officer.

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