February 27, 2015
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) saved insurance companies $3.3 million in fraudulent insurance claim payouts from Jan. 1, 2012 through Dec. 31, 2014.
In its periodic report to the Washington Legislature, Kreidler’s insurance fraud unit lays out the results of its work during calendar years 2012 through 2014:
- Received 5,745 referrals from the public, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
- Investigated 141 criminal cases across Washington, resulting in 54 convictions.
- Convictions resulted in more than $2 million in restitution ordered to be repaid to victims.
- The bulk of cases originated in King and Pierce counties.
“My Special Investigations Unit is a key part of protecting Washington consumers,” said Kreidler. “Industry estimates peg 10 percent of insurance claims as fraudulent, and those costs get passed on to consumers in the form of increased premiums. My message to people who would defraud insurance companies is this: We will come after you if try to get away with it in Washington state.”
Some of the cases that drew media attention included:
- Kenneth Welling, a registered surgical technologist from Lake Forest Park who billed insurers as a physician’s assistant or surgeon, which is a higher billing rate. He billed $7.4 million in claims between 2004 and 2012.
- Yevgentiy Samsonov, who made a false claim of $20,000 to PEMCO for the death of his fictitious cat in a car accident in Tacoma.
- Kevin Kolenda, an unlicensed insurance producer from Connecticut who sold hole-in-one policies to golf tournaments over several decades in numerous states. Many of his victims were charities that lost money when he failed to pay prizes for holes-in-one. He was charged for failing to pay the prizes for two Western Washington tournaments and served 89 days in King County jail and was ordered to pay $35,000 in restitution.
- Attorney Edward Joseph Callow and insurance adjuster Fariborz Rahrovi, both of Seattle, defrauded an accident victim out of more than half of a $500,000 insurance settlement.
Kreidler’s Special Investigations Unit investigates insurance fraud and works with the Attorney General’s Office and local prosecutors to prosecute criminal cases. Consumers can report suspected insurance fraud on the Insurance Commissioner’s website.