January 31, 2020
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Rebecca Tabares Garza, of Yakima, pleaded guilty in Yakima County Superior Court to first-degree theft and filing a false insurance claim for 27 injuries she said occurred to herself and her family. Garza was sentenced to two months of home detention, six months of community custody and was ordered to pay $5,175 in restitution and $600 in court fees.
Officials charged Garza with three counts each of filing a false insurance claim, forgery and second-degree theft in March 2019 after an investigation by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU).
According to the investigation, Garza purchased an accident-only policy for herself and her family from American Fidelity Insurance in 2013. The policy provides coverage for injury or death as a result of an accident. From 2013 until 2017, Garza submitted 27 injury claims. Based on the number of claims, American Fidelity opened an investigation into Garza. The insurer identified three claims in 2017 totaling $5,175 for herself and her adult children that she substantiated with falsified medical documentation. American Fidelity canceled Garza’s policy 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.