October 28, 2016
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Felony charges were filed against five people after insurance fraud investigations by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU).
Juelene Perez Owens (Perez), 37, of Mossyrock, was charged with first-degree theft in Lewis County Superior Court. According to the investigation, Perez enrolled her boyfriend, Jose P. Lopez, on the health insurance provided through her employer, the U.S. Postal Service, when she was hired in 2004. She indicated on the enrollment form that she and Lopez were married, even though they’ve never been married. In 2011, Lopez submitted an updated enrollment form, again listing Lopez as her husband. In June 2014, USPS requested a marriage certificate from Perez; she said she didn’t have one because she thought they were married under common law. The health insurance plan paid more than $350,000 in medical and prescription claims for Lopez. The U.S. Postal Service and U.S. Office of Personnel Management Offices of Inspector General referred and assisted Kreidler’s SIU with this investigation.
Brad Burmester, 50, of Kirkland, was charged in King County Superior Court with filing false insurance claims and first-degree theft. According to the investigation, Burmester, who operated a business out of his home called Alligator Auto Glass, filed 15 false claims totaling $6,569 to PEMCO Insurance for windshield or window repairs. All 15 claims were on behalf of people who were staff or parents of students at Juanita High School, where Burmester was employed as a security guard and coach. Students who park at the school are required to provide their insurance and vehicle information to receive a parking pass, and Burmester had access to that information. Burmester resigned from the school in April 2016. PEMCO started investigating the claims in March 2016 and referred the case to Kreidler’s SIU, as required by state law.
Dawn Jackson, 35, of Kent, was charged in King County Superior Court with first-degree theft. According to the investigation, Jackson was hit by an uninsured motorist in September 2014 in Seattle. A month later, Jackson submitted bills to GEICO, her insurer, from Valley Medical Center totaling nearly $10,812 for treatment of herself and her three children. Jackson told GEICO that her children were with her in the car and that she drove them to the hospital immediately after the collision for treatment. She said she paid the bills with her credit card, because she thought her medical insurance wouldn’t pay for treatment resulting from a collision. GEICO reimbursed Jackson for the medical bills and paid her a $1,000 bodily injury settlement, a total of $11,812. Kreidler’s investigators determined the medical bills were fake and the hospital did not treat Jackson or her children after the collision.
Michelle Granberry, 43, of Kennewick, was charged with first-degree attempted theft, filing a false insurance claim and first-degree criminal impersonation in Benton County Superior Court. According to the investigation, Granberry filed a claim in August 2015 with her insurance company, USAA, for damage to the back of her vehicle that occurred when her garage door hit her car while she was backing out of her garage. Granberry’s claim stated the accident happened on Aug. 14. In September, Granberry contacted USAA and reported that she aggravated a previous back injury while trying to lift the garage door off her car and said she had medical bills as a result of the injury. USAA told her the medical bills would not be paid because the injury wasn’t related to the impact of the door on her car. Later that month, she contacted USAA and said the incident actually occurred a week prior, on Aug. 7, and that the back injury was new and was the result of the incident. She contacted USAA multiple times to clarify her claim, and eventually submitted medical bills from Kadlec Health System dated Aug. 7 totaling more than $13,000 for treating her back injury. Kreidler’s investigators found evidence that the incident actually occurred on Aug. 14 and that the Aug. 7 medical bills were altered to show they were related to the garage door incident.
Erich Scott, 29, of Vancouver, was charged in Clark County Superior Court with first-degree attempted
theft and filing a false insurance claim. According to the investigation, Scott filed a claim with GEICO insurance in July 2015 after a car collision. The damage to his car and the other driver’s car was estimated at more than $13,000. GEICO denied the claim, stating it had canceled his policy in April when he stopped paying the premiums. Scott gave falsified bank records to GEICO showing he had made premium payments each month. However, his bank records did not show any payments to GEICO. Scott failed to appear for his arraignment; the court issued a warrant for his arrest and set bail at $10,000. Scott is on Kreidler’s insurance fraud most wanted list. If you have information that may lead to Scott’s arrest, please contact your local law enforcement agency or contact Kreidler’s investigators.
Kreidler’s SIU investigates insurance fraud and works with the Attorney General’s Office and local prosecutors to prosecute criminal cases. 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.
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