June 23, 2016
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Three people pleaded guilty in connection with insurance fraud cases after investigations by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU).
Joshua Zabel, 28, pleaded guilty in Kitsap County Superior Court to one count of first-degree attempted theft, a felony. Zabel was sentenced to 24 hours of community service, a $1,000 fine and $800 in various court fees.
According to the investigation, Zabel rear-ended a Honda Accord in March 2014. At the time, Zabel filed a claim with his insurance company, Progressive Insurance, for severe damage to the front of his 2005 Ford Mustang. Progressive denied the claim because he had not purchased collision and comprehensive coverage. Zabel purchased the coverage a few days after the March accident and on April 30, he lowered his deductible from $2,500 to $100. A few days later, he submitted a claim to Progressive for damage to his Mustang that he said was caused by a hit-and-run while his car was parked outside of his Bremerton home. The damage estimate for the car was more than $8,900. Progressive contacted the owner of the Honda Accord that Zabel had hit in March, and she provided photos showing the damage to Zabel’s Mustang, which matched the damage he claimed happened in May. Progressive denied the claim and referred the case to Kreidler’s SIU.
Dena Medialdea, 46, pleaded guilty in King County Superior Court to third-degree theft, a gross misdemeanor. Medialdea will be on probation for 12 months and must complete 40 hours of community service and pay $500 in court costs, in exchange for a deferred sentence.
According to the investigation, Medialdea submitted at least 26 fraudulent AFLAC policies on behalf of four consumers and herself, for which she received more than $6,300 in commissions to which she was not entitled. Kreidler revoked her insurance producer license in December 2012 and referred the case to SIU.
Sean C. Ingram, 24, of Olympia, pleaded guilty in King County District Court to filing a false insurance claim. His sentence was deferred after he served 10 days in jail. If Ingram has no criminal convictions for 24 months, the conviction will be removed from his record.
According to the investigation, Ingram bought auto insurance from Middlesex Insurance Co. on June 5, 2015. On June 29, Ingram filed a liability claim, saying he hit a 2010 Toyota Prius while driving his 2005 Honda Civic in Seattle on June 6. However, the driver of the vehicle he hit said the accident happened on May 17 and filed a damage estimate dated June 2. Middlesex denied the claim and referred the case to Kreidler’s SIU.
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 to the Insurance Commissioner.
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