Las Vegas Sun

April 17, 2014

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Business:

Purrfect Auto owner loses appeal in fraud case

The owner of a chain of auto repair shops in Las Vegas has lost his appeal of a case in which he was ordered to pay $218,000 for cheating customers.

The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld a District Court judgment against Shafik Hirji, who owned Purrfect Autos, which had advertised low prices for some repairs that mechanics never performed.

The state Consumer Protection Bureau said it received some 500 complaints and decided to set up a sting operation.

A state agent answered an advertisement for a 60,000-mile checkup involving an oil and oil filter change, a transmission flush, a change of spark plugs and other maintenance. The parts were marked and a hidden surveillance camera was installed, according to court documents.

The agent went to three of Hirji's repair shops, and none of the advertised maintenance work was done, according to the Consumer Protection Bureau, which filed a civil complaint in 2006.

Hirji maintained he never knew about the consumer fraud.

District Judge Mark Denton imposed a $100,000 fine and ordered $118,000 in refunds to consumers. And the Supreme Court on Friday said there was substantial evidence to justify the award.

Hirji also argued there was no justification for Judge Denton to issue a permanent injunction enjoining him from further engaging in deceptive practices and concealing his ownership of the businesses. But the court said there was evidence that the business was corrupt and Hirji had hidden his ownership.

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