February 18, 2022
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Sarah Jo Monty, of Kennewick, Wash., pleaded guilty in Benton County Superior Court to one charge of filing a false insurance claim and two counts of attempted second-degree theft in connection with an insurance claim. Monty was sentenced to serve 15 days in jail and to pay $800 in court fines.
Benton County Prosecutor’s Office charged Monty after an investigation by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU).
According to the investigation, Monty filed a claim with Safeco Insurance in December 2018, stating that she was the victim of a hit-and-run accident while she was seated in her parked car. In addition to over $800 in damage to the car, Monty claimed that she was injured in the accident. She sought reimbursement totaling $3,265 related to her injuries, for 55 hours of work she said she lost and for a previously scheduled family vacation she said she was unable to take.
Safeco’s investigation found that Monty was not scheduled to work during the time she said she was injured and therefore did not in fact miss any work. They also found that Monty and her family did take the vacation as scheduled. Safeco denied the claim and referred the case to Kreidler’s CIU as required by state law.
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 to Kreidler's detectives.