A Tacoma, Wash. man is facing attempted theft and insurance fraud charges after filing a $20,000 claim for a fictitious dead cat, using pet photos he lifted off the internet.
“We’ve handled some pretty unusual fraud cases, but this is one of the stranger ones,” Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said in a statement.
Yevgeniy M. Samsonov, 29, has been charged with first-degree attempted theft and felony insurance fraud in Pierce County Superior Court. Arraignment is set for July 11.
On March 27, 2009, Samsonov was reportedly involved in a minor traffic accident in Tacoma. A driver behind him was stopped at a traffic light when her foot slipped off the brake. Reported damage to both vehicles was minor.
Samsonov filed a claim that included chiropractic treatment of soft tissue injuries. The other driver’s insurer, PEMCO, paid him $3,452, according to the Insurance Commissioner’s office.
More than two years later Samsonov sought additional payment from PEMCO claiming that in addition to the vehicle damage and medical claim his cat Tom had been in the car and killed in the accident. The company issued him a check for $50 to compensate him for the cat, according to Kriedler’s office.
Samsonov then told PEMCO that he’d paid $1,000 for the cat, who’d been like a son to him, and he wanted to be paid $20,000, reports state. He sent the company two photos he said he’d taken of his cat.
A PEMCO claims representative reportedly conducted a Google search under “Images” and discovered identical cat images appearing on websites, blogs and Facebook pages. The two images Samsonov submitted are of two different cats, and neither belonged to Samsonov, according to Kriedler’s office.
PEMCO canceled its $50 check and forwarded the case to the Insurance Commissioner’s anti-fraud unit.
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