A case of alleged cat fraud in Washington has ended in criminal charges for a man who said his pet was killed in a car accident.
Yevgeniy Samsonov, 29, of Tacoma, asked insurance company PEMCO to compensate him $20,000 for his white cat named Tom, which he said he bought for $1,000 and thought of him like a son, according to the Washington State Insurance Commissioner’s office.
Samsonov claimed Tom was killed in a 2009 traffic accident in which he was rear-ended at a red light. Samsonov didn’t filed his suit asking for cat compensation until this year.
Insurance agents at PEMCO took notice of the pictures of Samsonov’s white cat, and then searched on the internet, according to the report. The first picture to come up on a Google image search was, in fact, the same cat that Samsonov claimed was his, the insurance report states. The picture was also on a Wikipedia page for cats, according to ABC News affiliate KOMO.
“We’ve handled some pretty unusual fraud cases, but this is one of the stranger ones,” Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said in a statement.
Samsonov does not have a listed phone number and could not be reached by ABC News. He declined to speak with ABC News affiliate KOMO.
The insurance company, PEMCO, had initially sent Samsonov a $50 check to compensate him for the cat. After finding the images online, PEMCO canceled the $50 check and forwarded the case to investigators.
Officials described the initial car accident as minor, saying that the driver behind Samsonov was stopped at a traffic light behind him when her foot slipped off the brake. The insurance commissioner’s office said damage to both vehicles was “very minor.”
Samsonov now faces attempted theft and insurance fraud charges.