Fake dead cat leads to insurance fraud charges

Fake dead cat leads to insurance fraud charges

Credit: Washington State Insurance Commissioner's Office

An image of a cat allegedly submitted as part of an insurance claim. The claimant said the cat was killed in a car accident, but an insurance agent discovered the photo was lifted off the Internet.

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by TRAVIS PITTMAN / KING 5 News

KMOV.com

Posted on July 5, 2012 at 1:48 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 5 at 2:33 PM

A Tacoma man is accused of filing a false $20,000 insurance claim for a dead cat that didn’t exist, using pet photos he pulled off the Internet.

The Washington State Insurance Commissioner’s Office says Yevgeniy M. Samsonov, 29, is charged with first-degree attempted theft and felony insurance fraud.

Samsonov was involved in a car accident in Tacoma in March 2009 that was not his fault. The Insurance Commissioner’s Office says damage to both vehicles was minor.

Samsonov filed a claim that included chiropractic treatment. PEMCO Insurance, representing the other driver, paid Samsonov $3,452.

More than two years later, Samsonov allegedly tried to get more money out of PEMCO by claiming his pet cat, Tom, was in the car and died in the accident.

PEMCO cut him a check for $50, but Samsonov allegedly told PEMCO that he'd paid $1,000 for “Tom,’ who'd been like a son to him. He wanted to be paid $20,000. He also allegedly sent PEMCO two photos of the cat.

Samsonov was caught in the act thanks to a Google search. A PEMCO employee searched Google Images and found the same cat photos appearing on several websites, blogs and Facebook pages.  The two images Samsonov allegedly submitted are actually of two different cats, neither of which he owned.

PEMCO canceled its $50 check and forwarded the case to the Insurance Commissioner’s anti-fraud unit.

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