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The cat's out of the bag: Man facing fraud charges for filing false claim for deceased feline

cat.jpgFor most people, the mention of fraud charges conjures up images of sophisticated wire fraud systems, elaborate identity theft schemes or intricate mail fraud networks. While this is certainly the reality in many cases both here in Wisconsin and across the nation, it isn't entirely universal. In other words, people can often find themselves facing fraud charges stemming from far less "complex" conduct.

This was recently the case in the state of Washington, where 29-year-old Yevgeniy S. now stands accused of insurance fraud and attempted theft for allegedly submitting a $20,000 claim for a non-existent dead cat.

According to reports from the Washington Insurance Commissioner's Office, Yevgeniy S. was involved in a small fender bender in Tacoma back on March 27, 2009, while stopped at a traffic light. Here, the driver stopped behind him accidentally took her foot off the brake and bumped into Yevgeniy S.' car, causing only minor damage to both vehicles.

Sometime after the accident, Yevgeniy S. submitted a claim to PEMCO, the other driver's insurance company, for chiropractic treatment of soft tissue injuries. PEMCO responded by paying nearly $3,500 for the claim.

Two years after the accident, Yevgeniy S. submitted another claim to PEMCO indicating that his beloved pet cat "Tom" had been killed in the March 2009 car accident. PEMCO responded by paying him $50 for the claim.

However, Yevgeniy S. informed PEMCO that the cat -- whom he treated like a family member -- had cost $1,000 and that he now wanted to be paid $20,000. In support of his claim, he attached two photos of his cat that he claimed to have taken.

A claims representative with PEMCO immediately became suspicious, and discovered that the photos of the cat could be found all over the internet and that the pictures were actually of two different cats that did not belong to Yevgeniy S.

PEMCO proceeded to cancel the $50 check and contacted the anti-fraud unit of the Washington Insurance Commissioner's Office.

"We've handled some pretty unusual fraud cases, but this is one of the stranger ones," said Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Man faces charges after claiming $20,000 for fake dead cat," July 5, 2012

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