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Remember the book “101 Uses for a Dead Cat?” A Tacoma, Wash., man has apparently come up with a 102nd use—and the dead cat doesn’t even exist.
Yevgeniy M. Samsonov, 29, is being charged with first-degree attempted theft and felony insurance fraud after he tried to collect a $20,000 insurance payment for a dead cat, according to the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
Mr. Samsonov was involved in a minor traffic accident in Tacoma in March 2009. He filed a claim that included chiropractic treatment of soft tissue injuries, and Seattle-based PEMCO Mutual Insurance Co., the other driver’s insurer, paid him $3,452.
Two and a half years later, Mr. Samsonov claimed his beloved cat Tom had been in the car and killed in the accident. PEMCO issued him a $50 check to compensate him for the cat. But Mr. Samsonov then told PEMCO that he had paid $1,000 for the cat “who’d been like a son to him,” and that he wanted $20,000, according to the commissioner’s office.
He sent PEMCO two photos he said he’d taken of his cat. But a PEMCO claims representative did a Google image search and discovered identical cat images. The two images Mr. Samsonov submitted were actually of two different cats, neither of which belonged to him. PEMCO canceled its $50 check and forwarded the case to the Washington Insurance Department’s anti-fraud unit.
“We’ve handled some pretty unusual fraud cases, but this is one of the stranger ones,” said Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler in a statement.