Man files $20,000 insurance claim for dead cat ... but cat wasn't dead or real

Jul 5, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A Tacoma man is facing attempted theft and insurance fraud charges after filing a $20,000 claim for a fictitious dead cat, using pet photos he lifted off the internet, according to a press release from the Washington State Insurance Commission.

“We’ve handled some pretty unusual fraud cases, but this is one of the stranger ones,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.

Here's the rest of the press release:

Yevgeniy M. Samsonov, 29, has been charged with first-degree attempted theft and felony insurance fraud in Pierce County Superior Court. Arraignment is set for July 11.

On March 27, 2009, Samsonov was involved in a minor traffic accident in Tacoma. A driver behind him was stopped at a traffic light when her foot slipped off the brake. Damage to both vehicles was very minor.

Samsonov filed a claim that included chiropractic treatment of soft tissue injuries. The other driver’s insurer, PEMCO, paid him $3,452.

Two and a half years later, Samsonov sought additional payment from PEMCO. He said that in addition to the vehicle damage and medical claim, his beloved cat Tom had been in the car and killed in the accident.

The company issued him a check for $50 to compensate him for the cat.

Samsonov then told PEMCO that he’d paid $1,000 for the cat, who’d been like a son to him. He wanted to be paid $20,000.

He sent the company two photos he said he’d taken of his cat. (See above.)

A PEMCO claims representative did a Google Images search and discovered identical cat images appearing on websites, blogs and Facebook pages. The two images Samsonov submitted are actually of two different cats. One is named Lacy. Neither belonged to Samsonov.

PEMCO canceled its $50 check and forwarded the case to Kreidler’s anti-fraud unit.