Washington Auto Glass Shop Owner Charged with Overbilling Three Insurers Approximately $1.5 Million Over Four-Year Period
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 commissioner’s 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.

“We’ve 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 commissioner’s 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 says.

Roesler also cited a case related to a 1999 Lexus R200. “[The business] replaced the windshield and billed $1,167 for it but actually paid—this is a real number—$56 for the glass, a huge markup,” he says.

Roesler says a third-party administrator brought concerns about the company’s billing practices to the insurance commissioner’s 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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