March 9, 2017
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Two people are guilty of felonies and two others were charged in connection with insurance fraud investigations by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU).
Alhagie Abdoulie Kanaji, 37, was found guilty of filing a false insurance claim, a felony, in King County Superior Court, after a three-day trial.
According to the investigation, Kanaji was involved in an auto collision in July 2014 in Seattle. An eyewitness to the accident took a photo of Kanaji’s car, including the license plate. Kanaji filed a claim with GEICO, saying his car was vandalized while it was parked at a friend’s house in Marysville. GEICO declared the car a total loss and paid Kanaji nearly $3,700. Later, an investigation discovered that Kanaji’s vehicle was involved in the collision and wasn’t in fact vandalized.
Brandon Johnson, 38, pleaded guilty in King County District Court to a charge of attempting to file a false insurance claim. He was sentenced to 20 hours of community service that he must complete by May 31 and six months’ probation, along with paying $163 in court fees.
According to the investigation, Johnson was in a collision with an uninsured motorist the afternoon of Jan. 27. He purchased an auto policy from Esurance for his 2014 Kia Optima that evening, then filed a claim on Jan. 30 for a collision he said occurred at midnight that day. Esurance determined the photos were taken on Jan. 27, before he purchased the policy. Esurance denied the claim, then referred the case to Kreidler’s CIU.
Kelsey Gearring, 23, was charged in Asotin County Superior Court with one count of filing a false insurance claim and one count of attempted first-degree theft, both felonies.
According to the investigation, Gearring filed a $9,600 auto claim with Allstate for a June 28 collision, saying she hit a deer with her SUV. On June 23, Gearring had changed her auto policy to include comprehensive and collision coverage; prior to that, she had only liability insurance on her 2008 GMC Acadia. Investigators determined that Gearring’s accident could not have happened on June 28 because she was in Asotin County jail that day for violating a restraining order; the accident actually occurred June 22 before she added coverage to her car. Furthermore, she did not hit a deer, but ran off the road when she was distracted while driving.
Trevor W. Irving, 32, of Seattle, was charged with one count each of first-degree theft and first-degree identity theft, both felonies, in Thurston County Superior Court.
According to the investigation, Irving was an insurance agent who collected nearly $49,000 in unearned commissions from Farmers Insurance by submitting 41 fake auto insurance policies for 11 consumers without their knowledge and for himself using cars he did not own. Farmers discovered the theft during an audit and reported it to the Insurance Commissioner for an investigation. Farmers was able to recover more than $32,000 before the company fired Irving.
Kreidler’s CIU 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 on the Insurance Commissioner’s website.
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