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Fabricated feline generates fraud case

A Tacoma man said this cat died in a car accident, but his insurance company said otherwise.
A Tacoma man said this cat died in a car accident, but his insurance company said otherwise.

Man claims cat died in car crash; insurer fights back

OLYMPIA — A Tacoma man who asked an insurance company to reimburse him $20,000 for the loss of a cat that he said died in a car accident is facing fraud charges.

Yevgeniy Samsonov, 29, didn’t have the cat and used photos of felines from the Internet, the state insurance commissioner’s office said.

PEMCO settled a claim for a minor accident about 2  ½ years ago involving Samsonov and a driver the company covered. Samsonov received about $3,450 to cover chiropractor bills for injuries he said he suffered.

Although that legally settled the claim, Samsonov recently asked for reimbursement for a cat he said was killed in the accident, the commissioner’s office said. PEMCO sent him a check for $50.

Samsonov argued that wasn’t enough for a cat that cost him $1,000 and was “like a son” to him. He sent PEMCO two pictures of a very attractive white cat with blue eyes, and asked for $20,000.

PEMCO balked. Samsonov objected. He filed a complaint against the company with the insurance commissioner’s office. PEMCO filed a complaint of suspected insurance fraud, noting that the pictures he sent apparently came off the Internet, and were two different cats. It also canceled the $50 check.

The complaints arrived at about the same time, said Rich Roesler, a spokesman for the commissioner’s office. An investigation indicated PEMCO was right. Samsonov faces charges in Pierce County Superior Court for insurance fraud and attempted theft.

One problem for Samsonov, Roesler said, was that the photos of the cat he claimed died are common Internet images. One was the first picture a person gets on Google images when typing in “white cat with blue eyes” for some time.

“We’ve handled some pretty unusual fraud cases, but this is one of the stranger ones,” Commissioner Mike Kreidler said.

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