Friday, December 18, 2009

Auto glass installer pleads guilty to theft in insurance fraud case

A Battle Ground auto glass installer who overbilled an insurance company for years has pleaded guilty to first-degree theft.

Robert T. Wooster, 51, doing business as Dr. Bob’s Auto Glass and DRB Enterprises Auto Glass, is believed to have overcharged Farmers Insurance Company at least $100,000 – and perhaps significantly more – over several years.

“Insurance fraud costs everyone, in the form of higher premiums,” said state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “ Dr. Bob was doctoring his invoices, illegally inflating them.”

Farmers contacted Kreidler’s office, which has a Special Investigations Unit to investigate insurance fraud. The state investigators served a search warrant on Wooster’s business in late 2007, seizing dozens of fraudulent invoices.

The investigation found that Wooster had two schemes for illegally billing the insurer:

-He would replace chipped or cracked windshields, but bill the company for more-expensive side- or back windows. The insurance commissioner’s office is aware of more than 100 cases in which customers had windshields replaced, but where the records showed that Wooster had billed for side- or back glass.

-He would submit bogus invoices, cutting and pasting photocopied dealer invoices to make it look like his costs for the glass were much higher than they really were. He also fabricated false invoices for parts that were never actually installed, such as new window moldings.

Wooster pleaded guilty to the felony charge this week in Clark County Superior Court. Sentencing is scheduled for mid-February.

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