June 28, 2019
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Three Spokane-area residents were charged with crimes in Spokane County Superior Court after investigations by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU).
Ishtiaq Quidwai was charged with presenting a false insurance claim and second-degree attempted theft. He pleaded not guilty on June 26 and is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 6.
According to the investigation, Quidwai filed a homeowner’s insurance claim with California Casualty in March 2017 related to a water leak that resulted from a bathroom plumbing issue. An adjuster confirmed the damage, estimating the loss at approximately $2,343. Quidwai accepted an $1,800 settlement after his deductible was paid and later submitted additional expenses totaling more than $10,000 that he said he incurred for the repairs. California Casualty determined that one of the bills he submitted as proof of payment was an estimate for rental equipment that he never actually rented. It also determined that a contractor’s invoice for $5,900 was falsified and that Quidwai actually paid $225.22 for the work. The company denied the claim and referred the case to Kreidler’s CIU, as required by law.
Nicholas Burkhart and Jenea Burkhart, a married couple, were both charged with attempted second-degree theft and presenting a false insurance claim. They are scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment on July 3.
According to the investigation, Nicholas Burkhart filed a homeowner’s insurance claim with Safeco Insurance for Jenea Burkhart’s wedding ring, valued at $2,800. Nicholas told the insurer that the ring went down a sink drain in April 2018 and they weren’t able to recover it. Safeco’s investigation found records showing the couple had left the ring at a pawn shop in November 2016 as collateral for a loan. The ring was still at the shop at the time of the Burkharts’ claim. Safeco denied the claim and referred the case to Kreidler’s CIU.
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 on the insurance commissioner’s website.