January 26, 2018
OLYMPIA, Wash. – A former Bothell dental office employee will serve nine months of home confinement for felony theft charges, and three Washington drivers were sentenced in pay-as-you-crash scams after investigations by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU).
Josie Morey, 51, of Mukilteo, pleaded guilty to one count each of first-degree theft and second-degree theft, both felonies, in King County Superior Court. She will serve nine months of electronic home monitoring, pay $600 in court fees and is ordered to have no contact with her victims for 10 years. A restitution hearing will occur at a later date.
Morey filed false insurance claims and illegally collected unemployment insurance while she worked for a Bothell dentist from May 2011 until November 2013. The investigation identified $4,400 in client payments that Morey misappropriated and $1,700 in charges to Washington Dental Service on behalf of one patient for treatments the dentist did not provide, which depleted the patient’s yearly benefit amount. In addition, the state Employment Security Department found that Morey fraudulently collected more than $32,000 in unemployment benefits for 59 weeks while she was working at the dental clinic. Kreidler’s CIU investigated this case with the Bothell Police Department and Employment Security fraud investigators. They worked with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to prosecute the case.
Shannon Schroeder, 39, of Everett, was charged with one count of filing a false insurance claim and pleaded not guilty. Her case has been transferred to King County Drug Diversion Court and charges will be dismissed if she completes the 12- to 18-month program.
According to the investigation, Schroeder purchased an Esurance auto policy about an hour after she rear-ended another car on Interstate 5 in the Seattle area in July 2016. The estimated claim for damage to both cars was $9,500. Esurance did not pay the claim and referred the case to Kreidler’s office.
Schroeder failed to appear in court in December 2017 and was listed on Kreidler’s insurance fraud most wanted.
Garnett Smith, 36, of Spokane, pleaded guilty in Spokane Superior Court to filing a false insurance claim, a felony. He will serve nine months of electronic home monitoring, and must pay $8,125 in restitution to Progressive Insurance and $800 in fines and fees.
Smith purchased auto insurance after he was in a collision, then filed a claim for the total loss of his 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe using a falsified collision date and circumstances.
Susan Whittecar, 30, of Fife, was found guilty of misdemeanor filing a false insurance claim in Pierce County Superior Court. She will serve 40 hours of community service and pay $700 in fines and fees.
According to the investigation, Whittecar rear-ended two cars on Interstate 5 in September 2014. About 20 minutes after the collision, Whittecar’s husband renewed the lapsed policy on her car and she filed a claim for the damage to her car the next day. Esurance did not pay the claim and referred the case to Kreidler’s office.
Whittecar was featured on Kreidler’s insurance fraud most wanted for 22 months before she reported to Pierce County Superior Court to face the charge against her.
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.