June 18, 2021
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Two people pleaded guilty in King County Superior Court to insurance fraud charges in separate cases after investigations by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU).
Nikki Hill pleaded guilty to one felony charge of filing a false insurance claim. She was sentenced to serve 90 days in community service through King County Community Option, 24 months of unsupervised probation, and $500 in court fees. Restitution is to be determined.
According to the investigation, Hill was involved in a collision with a semi-truck on Interstate 405 in King County in August 2017. She reinstated her lapsed Progressive auto insurance policy the next day and filed a claim, stating the collision happened four days after she got the policy. The damage to her 2016 Jeep Cherokee was estimated at over $23,000 but its value was estimated to be approximately $19,000, so the car was a total loss. Progressive found documentation showing the collision happened before Hill had coverage. The insurer denied the claim and referred the case to Kreidler’s investigators.
Thiago Jose Silva Moreira pleaded guilty to one charge of filing a false insurance claim. He received a suspended sentence of 364 days with one day served, 24 months unsupervised probation, and $500 in court fees.
According to the investigation, Moreira was involved in an auto collision in October 2017. He filed a claim with Allstate for more than $4,800 in damage to his 2009 Toyota Corolla and sought reimbursement for more than $9,600 in lost wages for 28 days he was unable to work due to a back injury. He reported that he was the foreman for a house cleaning business and provided a Social Security number that didn’t belong to him. Allstate searched the business address he provided and noted in its investigation that it was “a mound of dirt.” The actual business address listed by the Washington Secretary of State didn’t match the one Moreira provided. Kreidler’s investigators found a charge on his credit card statement for a service called stubcreator.com that allows people to create fake paystubs. Allstate paid the claim for the damage to the vehicle but denied the claim for lost wages. The insurer referred the case to Kreidler investigators.
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.