A Tacoma man has been charged with first-degree attempted theft and felony insurance fraud after he tried to collect a $20,000 insurance payment for a dead cat.
Trouble is, the cat never existed, contends the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
“We’ve handled some pretty unusual fraud cases, but this is one of the stranger ones,” Commissioner Mike Kreidler said.
On March 27, 2009, Yevgeniy M. Samsonov, 29, was involved in a minor crash when his car was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light in Tacoma, according to the commissioner’s office. 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, the commissioner says.
Two and a half years later, Samsonov sought additional payment from PEMCO, claiming his beloved cat Tom had been killed in the same crash, according to the commissioner. PEMCO issued Samsonov a check for $50 to compensate him for the cat.
But Samsonov then told PEMCO he’d paid $1,000 for the cat, who’d been like a son to him, the commissioner said. He wanted $20,000. He sent the company two photos he said he’d taken of his cat.
A PEMCO claims representative did a Google Images search and discovered identical cat images appearing on websites, blogs and Facebook pages. The two images Samsonov submitted were of different cats, and neither belonged to Samsonov, the commissioner said.
PEMCO canceled the $50 check and forwarded the case to the insurance commissioner’s anti-fraud unit.
Samsonov is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in Pierce County Superior Court.