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President of dealership arraigned on fraud count

Alex D. Rahmi is accused of deducting wages from employee for insurance even after policy was canceled

July 23, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- The president of Alex Chevrolet Inc. near Charles Town is accused of deducting wages from an employee for health insurance even after the dealership's policy was canceled, according to Jefferson County Magistrate Court records.

Alex D. Rahmi, 55, of 638 Marlow Road in Charles Town, was arraigned Friday on one felony count of fraudulent schemes by Magistrate Mary Paul Rissler, according to court records.

Rahmi was released from custody after bail was posted for a $7,500 bond, according to court records.

Jefferson County Sheriff's Department Deputy Steven M. Holz reviewed records of 18 deductions from employee Kenneth Cooper's wages that totaled $4,380.12 for the canceled health plan with Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield, according to court records.

Cooper told police he never was told his policy was canceled in October 2008 and didn't discover that his coverage had ended until after his insurance company refused to pay a claim, according to court records.

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Rahmi told police he was aware the policy was "behind" and they continued to make the deductions, according to court records.

A review by Holz of insurance records provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield revealed the group health plan was canceled due to nonpayment in October 2008, according to court records. Holz was provided payroll records indicating that deductions continued and then were reduced to $1.22 after the victim notified the company's payroll department.

Rahmi told police that business was poor and he could not afford the health insurance, according to court records.

In an interview Friday, Rahmi said the allegations were a "misrepresentation of the facts."

Rahmi, who incorporated Alex Chevrolet Inc. in 1986, said Friday that the corporation was Cooper's employer, not him.

"He was never employed by me," said Rahmi, who is listed as the president, secretary and treasurer of the corporation on the West Virginia Secretary of State's business organization information system.

Rahmi, who filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in January 2010 on behalf of Alex Chevrolet Inc., said the dealership no longer would be selling Chevrolet vehicles by October or November.

While market conditions are difficult, Rahmi blamed GMAC for trying to shut his dealership down.

The bankruptcy petition includes two pages of creditors, which include banks, other dealerships and auto parts stores, among other businesses.

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