December 9, 2016
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Michelle Granberry, 43, of Kennewick, was found guilty in Benton County Superior Court of filing a false insurance claim. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail, starting in January 2017, and must pay $800 in various court fees.
Granberry was charged with first-degree attempted theft, filing a false insurance claim and first-degree criminal impersonation in October after an investigation by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU).
Granberry filed a claim 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 on Aug. 14, 2015. Later, Granberry contacted USAA to report that she had aggravated a previous back injury while trying to lift the garage door off her car, asking for reimbursement of her medical bills. 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 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.
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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