With the rate of pet insurance fraud soaring in the U.K., could the trend be heading stateside? A Tacoma, Wash. man has been charged with insurance fraud and attempted theft for faking his cat’s death after a car accident to cash in on a $20,000 insurance claim, the Associated Press reports.
Not only had Yevgeniy Samsonov, 29, allegedly never even owned a cat, but he lifted photos of a feline found on Wikipedia to back up his claim, according to the state’s insurance commissioner.
A little digging revealed Samsonov had already been awarded $3,500 for chiropractic treatment from the other driver’s insurer (it was a fender-bender) and had waited two years to alert them to his “cat’s” death.
When the insurer, PEMCO, agreed to cut him a $50 check and call it a day, Samsonov sent photos to prove the cat’s value. A quick web search by the company’s agents proved the pictures were fakes.
“We’ve handled some pretty unusual fraud cases, but this is one of the stranger ones,” Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler told the AP.
As far-fetched as faking a pet’s death might seem, it’s clearly not beyond the realm of reality.
Would-be fraudsters have declared their pets missing or stolen and even go as far as to kill them off themselves in order to cash in on early death claims, according to the Association of British Insurers.
The trend sent the U.K.’s pet insurance fraud cases booming between 2009 and 2010, quadrupling to £1,929,900 from just £420,000 in 2009, the Daily Telegraph reports.
“Vets are being eyed as part of this so-called pet fraud, as they can charge twice as much for regular prescription meds and exaggerate claims for service costs,” BI’s Jill Krasny writes. “This is easier to do since the pet’s medical records are harder to trace than humans.”