July 28, 2017
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Two men, both of whom were at one point on Kreidler’s insurance fraud most wanted, pleaded guilty to charges that were brought after investigations by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU).
Tony Whitt, 52, of Spokane, pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree theft, a misdemeanor, in Spokane Superior Court. He was sentenced to two years in jail, which were suspended, placed on two years of unsupervised probation, 120 hours of community service, and to pay restitution to Allstate Insurance and Spokane Teachers Credit Union.
Whitt was charged in 2016 with one count of first-degree attempted theft and one count of submitting a false insurance claim. According to the investigation, Whitt reported to his insurance company and the police in February 2014 that his 2011 Ford F350 truck was stolen from his driveway. In July 2014, the police found the truck in the employee parking lot at a Spokane Ford auto dealership. Police records indicated that Whitt had the F350 appraised for a trade-in in January 2014 when he purchased two vehicles.
Bradley G. Pierce, 40, of Renton, pleaded guilty to attempted insurance fraud, a misdemeanor, in King County District Court. He was sentenced to serve 12 days in jail or 20 hours of community service and to pay court fees.
Pierce was in a collision in September 2015. The next day, he bought an auto insurance policy from GEICO. Two days after the collision, he filed a claim for damage to the car and made two false statements: that the car was damaged by a hit-and-run driver while it was parked and the date of the damage after the policy took effect. His statements were proved false by the metadata in the photo he took the day of the collision and by a friend’s statement.
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.