For Consumers

Dental office manager charged in suspected theft

Coupeville woman investigated for 55 fraudulent claims totaling nearly $18,000

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March 20, 2018

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A former dental clinic office manager was charged in Island County Superior Court with one count of first-degree theft and five counts of making a false claim for health care payment. Katherine Hargarten, 66, of Coupeville, was charged after an investigation by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU).  

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According to the investigation, Hargarten filed 55 claims from June 2008 to June 2015 totaling $17,908 with MetLife insurance on behalf of her husband. Most of the claims – 38 – were for treatment that never occurred; the remainder were treatments the dentist provided to employees for free. The dentist discovered the questionable claims and reported them to MetLife, which in turn reported them to Kreidler’s CIU, as required by state law. Hargarten’s employment was terminated in January 2016.  

Kreidler’s CIU investigates insurance fraud and worked with Island County Prosecutor’s Office to bring charges in this case. 

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.