For Consumers

Attempted auto insurance fraud doesn’t pan out for pair

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October 18, 2019

OLYMPIA, Wash. –  A pair of co-defendants charged with auto insurance fraud were both sentenced in King County Superior Court.

Nicholas Jones was found guilty of attempting to file a false insurance claim. He was sentenced to 12 days of confinement converted to 88 hours of community service or 11 days on a work crew, and ordered to pay $500 in court fees and restitution to the insurance company. 

Harjot Burns pleaded guilty to attempting to file a false insurance claim and hit-and-run. She was ordered to serve 12 days in the King County Community Work Program, received a suspended sentence of 364 days of confinement and must pay $500 in court fees and restitution to the insurance company. 

Officials charged Jones and Burns with crimes after an investigation by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU)

According to the investigation, Jones bought Progressive auto insurance on Oct. 14, 2017, for his 2006 Chevy Impala. That day, he filed a claim stating the car was damaged when Burns, his roommate, was a victim of a hit-and-run collision while driving it. Progressive estimated the Impala a total loss with a value of $1,650. Progressive found Washington State Patrol records showing that Burns was the at-fault driver in a hit-and-run collision at the interchange of I-5 and I-405 in King County before Jones bought the policy. The hit-and-run victim took pictures of Burns driving the car and the car’s license plate. Progressive denied the claim and referred the case to Kreidler’s investigators.

Kreidler’s CIU investigates insurance fraud and works with the Washington State Patrol and state and local prosecutors on criminal cases. Insurance fraud costs the average family $400 to $700 per year in increased premiums. Insurance companies are required by law to report fraud to the commissioner.  

Consumers can report suspected insurance fraud on the insurance commissioner’s website.