October 17, 2017
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Four people were sentenced and five people were charged with felonies in connection with insurance fraud cases investigated by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU).
Serenity Armstrong, 46, of Snoqualmie, pleaded guilty in King County Superior Court to filing a false insurance claim, a felony. She was sentenced to 80 hours of community service, $600 in court fees and to pay restitution.
According to the investigation, Armstrong fell on a grease spill outside of an IHOP restaurant while she was on vacation in Hawaii. Armstrong settled with the restaurant’s insurance company, Island Insurance, for $7,500 to cover chiropractic treatment. Later that year, Armstrong submitted forged medical bills from a fake chiropractic clinic totaling $9,120 to Island Insurance and also to Fireman’s Fund Insurance, the insurer for a hotel next -door to the restaurant. Fireman’s Fund settled with Armstrong for $1,000. Island Insurance, which had already paid Armstrong for chiropractic treatment, couldn’t locate the chiropractor listed on the new bills and denied her claim.
Aleage Franks, 36, of Tacoma, pleaded guilty in King County Superior Court to first-degree theft, a felony. She was sentenced to 100 hours of community service, to pay $700 in court fees and $13,061 in restitution to GEICO.
Franks filed a false insurance claim with GEICO insurance, saying she and three of her children were passengers in a one-car collision. GEICO paid Franks $13,061 for forged medical bills and personal- injury protection. Franks and her children were not in the car during the collision. The driver, Sisi Imani, 35, was charged with felony second-degree theft and is on Kreidler’s insurance fraud most wanted after failing to appear in court to face the charges.
Danylo Pavlenko, 33, of Auburn, pleaded guilty in King County Superior Court to attempted fraudulent insurance claim, a misdemeanor. His conviction will be suspended when he completes one day in jail and 12 months’ probation, and pays $1,700 in fees and fines, and $2,000 in restitution to Allstate Insurance.
According to the investigation, Pavlenko filed a claim in February 2016 for vandalism damage to his 2013 Acura sedan. Allstate declared the car a total loss and requested the proof of purchase for the vehicle to help determine its value. Pavlenko, who owns a used-car dealership, submitted a falsified invoice showing he paid more than $35,000 for the vehicle, an attempt to increase the value of the car. The vehicle sale record filed with the state Department of Licensing showed he actually purchased the car for $649 from his own dealership.
Cherrisse Ransom aka Franklin, 43, of Seattle, will have charges against her dismissed if she completes King County drug court. Ransom was charged in King County Superior Court with one count of filing a false insurance claim, a felony. In November 2014, Ransom submitted to GEICO insurance forged medical bills from Valley Medical Center totaling $9,009, requesting reimbursement for treatment after an April 2014 collision.
Collin Carlson, 25, of Arlington, was charged in Whatcom County Superior Court with first-degree theft and filing a false insurance claim, both felonies. According to the investigation, Carlson purchased auto insurance after he was in a collision, then filed a $3,771 claim for the total loss of his 2008 Ford Focus with the wrong collision date and circumstances.
Jasmine Grothen, 25, of Longview, was charged in Cowlitz County Superior Court with first-degree theft and filing a false insurance claim, both felonies. According to the investigation, Grothen’s uninsured 2011 Volkswagen Jetta was stolen in October 2016 and was recovered with extensive front-end damage that made it not driveable. She purchased auto insurance a few days later from The General Insurance Co., then filed an $11,984 claim for the car’s total loss, giving a false collision date and circumstances.
Darnell Shobey, 31, of Tacoma, was charged in Pierce County Superior Court with four felonies: first-degree attempted theft, second-degree theft, filing a false insurance claim and two counts of first-degree criminal impersonation. According to the investigation, Shobey was hit by a car while walking in September 2016. He filed $14,137 in claims with GEICO, the driver’s insurance company, for lost wages, hospital ER and chiropractor bills. The investigation found that all of the claims were fraudulent – the company Shobey said he worked for does not exist and he was never treated by the hospital or the chiropractor.
Timisha Short, 22, of Federal Way, was charged in King County Superior Court with one count of filing a false insurance claim, a felony. According to the investigation, Short purchased auto insurance from Progressive after she was in a collision, then filed a $12,088 claim for her totaled 2012 Hyundai Sonata with the wrong collision date and circumstances.
Garnett Smith, 36, Spokane, was charged in Spokane County Superior Court with first-degree theft and filing a false insurance claim, both felonies. According to the investigation, Smith purchased auto insurance after he was in a collision, then filed a claim for the total loss of his 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe with the wrong collision date and circumstances. Progressive paid Smith $8,125 for the claim.
Kreidler’s CIU 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.