For Immediate Release:
A real-life Ferris Bueller was charged Friday with insurance fraud and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle for taking a high-priced sports car belonging to a customer and crashing it in the early morning.
David Norman Juntunen, 40, of Minneapolis was arrested Wednesday following a 10-month investigation by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Minneapolis Park Police. Juntunen is the owner of Top Gear Autoworks in Minneapolis, which repairs and stores high-end luxury and sports cars. Pamela Jean Dupont, 41, of Minneapolis was also charged with insurance fraud and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
According to the criminal complaint, Juntunen agreed in late 2011 to store two cars for a customer. However, on the night of March 8, 2012, Juntunen took one of the customer’s cars, a 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo without asking permission. At 1:45 a.m. March 9, a Fridley police officer on another traffic stop saw a Lamborghini drive past on University Avenue at high speed. At 2 a.m., the Lamborghini struck three trees and two light poles and tore up the turf at B.F. Nelson Park in northeast Minneapolis, according to the complaint. Juntunen or Dupont, drove the heavily-damaged car from the crash site but eventually called for a tow truck.
“Once again, we have a case where someone crashes a car and does damage to the vehicle and to property and then tries to sneak away,” said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. “The solution is simple. When you are in an accident that causes damage, call the police immediately. Because as Mr. Juntunen is discovering, law enforcement will investigate and we will file felony charges, all of which are much worse than taking responsibility for the accident at the beginning.”
Later that same day, Juntunen filed an insurance claim against Top Gear’s commercial liability insurance policy to repair the car’s damage, estimated at $82,480. Within days, Minneapolis Park Police had figured out that the accident at the park involved the Lamborghini and an investigator interviewed both Juntunen and Dupont. According to the complaint, they said Dupont was driving the car from Top Gear’s storage facility at 3055 Columbia Ave. N.E. to its service facility at 2401 E. Lake Street, both in Minneapolis, when she swerved to miss an animal and crashed.
“The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board takes seriously any damage to park property,” said Park Board President John Erwin. “Almost $10,000 worth of damage was caused at the park and I am pleased that the diligent, collaborative investigative efforts by the Minneapolis Park Police and the Minnesota Department of Commerce resulted in the charges filed.”
Later that month, a Traveler’s Insurance investigator interviewed Juntunen and Dupont. Several of their statements, including the claim that the accident occurred at 11 p.m. on March 8, led the investigator to conclude they might be engaging in insurance fraud. At that point, the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Insurance Fraud Division joined the investigation.
“When the Commerce Department catches people in major insurance fraud scams like this one, it is a reminder that insurance fraud is not a victimless crime,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Fraudulent claims impact all insurance policies and the cost of insurance for all Minnesota consumers.”
The investigation led to Juntunen making incriminating statements to the owner of the Lamborghini last month. The criminal complaint states that Juntunen told the owner that if he went back to the insurance company asking them again to pay, “based on the statements I gave, I’m going to prison.”
In the 1986 movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Bueller takes his friend’s dad’s Ferrari out for a joy ride, and despite some mishaps, is never arrested or charged.