(Olympia, WA – Insurance News and Markets) – Investigations conducted by the Special Investigations Unit of the Washington Insurance Commission led to three guilty pleas in Kitsap County Superior Court and King County District Court, in connection with insurance fraud.
Joshua Zable, 28, pleaded guilty to a single felony count of Attempted Theft 1. He must pay $1,800 in court fees and fines, and must complete 24 hours of community service.
This plea comes after a car accident in March 2014, when Zabel hit the back of a Honda Accord and filed a claim for severe damage to the front of his 2005 Ford Mustang. His insurance company said that Zabel had not purchased collision and comprehensive coverage prior to the accident, but a few days later. At the end of April, the insurance company notes that he lowered his deductible from $2,500 to $100, and submitted a claim for damage that he said was caused by a hit-and-run claim for an incident that occurred outside his home. The damage estimate was more than $8,900. When the insurance company contacted the driver of the Honda Accord from the March 2014 accident, she provided photos that showed damage to the Mustang, which matched the damage he claimed happened in May.
Dena Medialdea, 46, pleaded guilty to Theft 1. She was sentenced to a year’s probation and 40 hours of community service. She must also pay $500 in court costs. Her sentence is related to her submission of more than two dozen fraudulent AFLAC policies on behalf of four consumers and herself. She received more than $6,300 in commissions she was not entitled to. Her insurance provider license had been revoked in 2012.
The third individual is 24-year-old Sean C. Ingram. The Olympia resident pleaded guilty to filing a false insurance claim. He served 10 days in jail and his sentence was deferred. It will be removed from his record if he avoids criminal convictions for the next two years.
An investigation revealed that Ingram bought car insurance from Middlesex Insurance Company on June 5, 2015; three weeks later, he filed a liability claim, saying he hit a 2010 Toyota Prius while driving his 2005 Honda Civic in Seattle on June 6. However, the driver of the vehicle he hit said the accident happened on May 17 and filed a damage estimate dated June 2. Middlesex denied the claim.
Kreidler’s SIU investigates insurance fraud and works with the Attorney General’s Office and local prosecutors to prosecute criminal cases. Insurance fraud costs the average family $400 to $700 per year in increased premiums. Consumers can report suspected insurance fraud to the Insurance Commissioner.
Source: Office of the Insurance Commissioner, Washington State.