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, says the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
On March 27, 2009, Yevgeniy M. Samsonov, 29, was involved in a minor traffic accident when his car was rear-ended while he was stopped at a traffic light in Tacoma, according to a news release from 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 news release says.
Two and a half years later, Samsonov sought additional payment from PEMCO, claiming that his beloved cat Tom had been killed in the same accident, the news release says.
PEMCO issued Samsonov a check for $50 to compensate him for the cat.
But Samsonov then told PEMCO that he’d paid $1,000 for the cat, who’d been like a son to him, the news release says. 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 web sites, blogs and Facebook pages. The two images Samsonov submitted are actually of two different cats. Neither belonged to Samsonov, the news release says.
PEMCO canceled the $50 check and forwarded the case to the insurance commissioner’s anti-fraud unit.
Samsonov is scheduled to be arraigned next Wednesday in Pierce County Superior Court.
“We’ve handled some pretty unusual fraud cases, but this is one of the stranger ones,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.