May 16, 2018
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Taylor Morgado (formerly Lawson), 30, of Buckley, pleaded not guilty in King County Superior Court to one count of first-degree theft and one count of filing a fraudulent insurance claim totaling nearly $27,000. The felony charges were filed after an investigation by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU).
According to the investigation, Morgado filed two false claims with Safeco Insurance.
In April 2015, she filed a renter’s insurance claim after she reported a burglary at her Auburn residence. The claim included electronics, jewelry, cash and a 2-carat diamond wedding ring set that she said had been appraised at $4,995. Safeco paid her $6,424 for the entire claim; her policy was capped at $3,000 for jewelry and the rest paid for the replacement of electronic items.
In December 2016, the ring was listed for sale on Morgado’s OfferUp account with an asking price of $3,800. Morgado told Kreidler’s detectives that she had found the ring after she filed the claim, but she didn’t know if she should tell Safeco that she had found it. She turned in the ring during the investigation.
In May 2015, Morgado filed a stolen vehicle claim for her 2013 Nissan Juke. Morgado reported to Auburn police that the vehicle was stolen from her residence in the middle of the night. She told police that the spare key to the Nissan had been stolen in the burglary the previous month. Safeco paid $20,240 to the lienholder and $550 in rental car expenses for Morgado.
In January 2017, the car was recovered by Washington State Patrol when a man was arrested in the Nissan for driving under the influence. Police checked the car’s license plates and found they were registered to a different car owned by a friend of Morgado’s. Morgado later told Kreidler’s detectives that she had given the car to her friend before she reported it stolen.
Kreidler’s CIU investigates insurance fraud and works with the state Attorney General’s Office 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.