March 9, 2021
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Former attorney Patrick Kim was charged in King County Superior Court with three counts of first-degree theft and 10 counts of second-degree theft, all felonies, involving clients’ insurance settlements. Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU) investigated the case after a referral by the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA).
Kim was the managing partner at United Law Firm in Bellevue, Wash., until he resigned from the state bar in September 2017 after its investigation into his conduct. According to the WSBA, United Law Firm specialized in criminal law, immigration and naturalization, personal injury and traffic offenses.
Kreidler’s detectives found evidence that Kim stole $1.8 million from clients who received settlements from at least 15 insurance companies. The investigation found he improperly recorded fees and other accounting records and misrepresented amounts to his clients.
“This is a case of an attorney abusing the trust of his clients, many of whom had a language barrier,” said Kreidler. “It appears that Mr. Kim used that to his advantage in siphoning off settlement money that should have gone to his clients and, in some cases, the insurance companies.”
Patrick Kim is no longer allowed to practice law but is employed at his wife Sarah Kim’s practice, SLK Law Firm, also in Bellevue.
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.