Washington Auto Glass Shop Owner Charged with
Overbilling Three Insurers Approximately $1.5 Million Over Four-Year
July 30, 2010
A Washington auto glass shop owner has been charged with three
counts of first-degree theft for allegedly billing State Farm Insurance,
MetLife and Allstate a total of approximately $1.5 million between
September 2005 and December 2009, according to Rich Roesler, a spokesperson
for the Washington state insurance commissioners office. Prosecutors
allege that Michael Alan Perkins, who owns Autoglass Express Inc.
and Premier Auto Glass, both of which are based in his home in Burien,
Wash., installed generic or aftermarket glass in approximately 4,800
cases, but charged the insurers for OEM product.
Weve been investigating them for months and from what
we could tell from going through the records is that they overbilled
State Farm, Metlife and Allstate collectively in literally thousands
of cases, Roesler told glassBYTEs.com/AGRR magazine.
We found more than 4,800 cases [in which] we believe they
installed aftermarket glass or generic glass but charged for OEM
glass, and the price can be dramatically different.
Through its investigation of Perkins business, which he co-owns
with his wife, Trena, Roesler says the insurance commissioners
office found numerous cases of overbilling. For example, investigators
say they found a record of a 1991 Subaru Legacy in which an insurer
was billed $191.95 for a front sidelite, and [the business]
had installed glass [it obtained] from a wrecking yard for $65,
Roesler also cited a case related to a 1999 Lexus R200. [The
business] replaced the windshield and billed $1,167 for it but actually
paidthis is a real number$56 for the glass, a huge markup,
Roesler says a third-party administrator brought concerns about
the companys billing practices to the insurance commissioners
office, which announced earlier this year that an investigation
had been launched. The TPA involved has not been named. King County,
Wash., prosecutors brought the complaint and official charges against
Perkins this week in King County Superior Court. Trena Perkins declined
to comment on the case this afternoon, citing the ongoing litigation.
This is at least the second case of its kind to come out of Washington
State this year. In May, Cascade
Auto Glass pleaded guilty to charges related to insurance fraud
and billing from a non-existent office.
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