State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said Yevgeniy Samsonov, 29, of Tacoma was involved in a minor traffic collision March 27, 2009, and collected $3,452 from the other driver's insurer, PEMCO, for expenses including chiropractic treatment of soft-tissue injuries, The Seattle Times reported Friday.
Kreidler said Samsonov filed a second claim with PEMCO 2 1/2 years later, claiming his cat, Tom, had been killed in the same crash. The insurance company sent him $50 in compensation for the feline, but Samsonov told the company the $1,000 feline had been like a son to him and he wanted $20,000 in compensation for loss of the pet, which he said was depicted in photos he mailed to the company.
However, a PEMCO employee conducted a Google image search and discovered cat pictures identical to the ones Samsonov had sent in and Kreidler said the images were found to depict two different cats, neither of which had ever belonged to Samsonov.
Kreidler said the company canceled the $50 check and Samsonov is now facing charges of first-degree attempted theft and felony insurance fraud. He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.
"We've handled some pretty unusual fraud cases, but this is one of the stranger ones," Kreidler said.