May 11, 2016
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Josie Morey, 50, of Mukilteo, was charged in King County Superior Court with one count of first-degree theft and two counts of second-degree theft in connection with false insurance claims and illegally collecting unemployment insurance payments while she was employed by a Bothell dentist. All three felony charges followed an investigation by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU).
According to the investigation, Morey worked for a dental clinic from May 2011 until November 2013. During her employment, suspicious billing transactions led to a criminal investigation that identified $4,400 in stolen client payments. The investigation also revealed multiple charges to Washington Dental Service on behalf of one patient for treatments the dentist did not provide. The unnecessary billings totaled $1,700 and depleted the patient’s yearly benefit amount.
“Insurance fraud may seem like a victimless crime that’s easy to get away with, but that is simply not the case,” said Kreidler. “I commend the dentist for reporting the theft to law enforcement and encourage anyone who knows about theft of insurance payments to report it to my office.”
Earlier, the state Employment Security Department’s (ESD) Office of Special Investigations (OSI) contacted the doctor about Morey’s employment from May 2011 to June 2012, during which time Morey was collecting unemployment insurance payments. ESD concluded that Morey fraudulently collected more than $32,000 in unemployment benefits for 59 weeks she was employed at the dental clinic.
“Unemployment insurance fraud takes valuable dollars that should be spent on those who are truly unemployed,” said Dale Peinecke, commissioner of the Employment Security Department. “Our OSI fraud investigators take their jobs seriously. She will be held accountable and will have to repay all that money.”
Morey is scheduled to appear in King County Superior Court on May 16 to enter a plea to the charges against her. Kreidler’s SIU investigated this case with the Bothell Police Department and the ESD fraud investigators, and is working with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to prosecute the case.
Insurance fraud costs the average family $400 to $700 per year in increased premiums. Consumers can report suspected insurance fraud on the Insurance Commissioner’s website. Consumers can also watch Commissioner Kreidler’s recent interview on TVW about insurance fraud.
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