For Consumers

Three charged with auto-related insurance fraud in Washington state

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June 7, 2022

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Three people were charged with insurance fraud in Washington state after investigations by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU)

Recently, Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office charged Jennifer Pond, of Spokane Valley, with presenting a false claim for insurance purposes after an investigation by CIU. In February 2020, Pond was involved in a two-vehicle collision in Spokane, Washington. Her insurance policy had lapsed, and Pond called Progressive to reinstate her policy. When she spoke to the claims representative, she told them she had not been involved in any collisions within the past five years. The representative reinstated her policy, which became effective at 4:07 p.m. At 4:49 p.m., Pond called Progressive stating she had just been in a collision. Progressive later learned from the other driver that the collision occurred at 3:53 p.m., which was prior to Pond reinstating her insurance policy. Progressive denied Pond’s claim for $12,471.10 and referred the claim to CIU, as required by state law.

San Juan County Prosecutor’s Office also recently charged Tory O. McMillen, of Friday Harbor, with filing a false insurance claim along with multiple other charges involving cases from other agencies. In March of 2021, Tory McMillen purchased a 2012 Volvo S80 sedan and added the vehicle to his existing GEICO insurance policy. In May 2021, McMillen reported that an unknown person had vandalized his vehicle and filed a claim with GEICO to repair $6,049.88 worth of damages. A GEICO investigation revealed that the vehicle damage existed prior to McMillen purchasing the vehicle. GEICO denied the claim and referred it to CIU. 

Finally, Pavel Kovalev, of Battle Ground, was charged by Clark County Prosecutor’s Office with false claims or proof and attempted theft II. Kovalev was involved in a two-vehicle collision back in April 2019. His vehicle was not insured, so Kovalev called Progressive to add his 2004 Nissan to an existing policy, not informing them he had just been involved in a vehicle collision. The other driver filed a claim against Kovalev’s policy the next day. Ultimately, Progressive discovered Clark County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the collision 26 minutes prior to Kovalev adding the vehicle to his policy, proving there was no insurance in place at the time of the collision. Progressive denied Kovalev’s claim for $3,730.03 and referred the claim to CIU.

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.  

If you suspect someone has committed insurance fraud, report it to Kreidler’s investigators.