Monday, June 6, 2011

One accident, two claims: Seattle man charged with insurance fraud

A Seattle man has been charged with insurance fraud and second-degree theft for allegedly filing multiple auto insurance claims for a single accident.

Thanh Thai "Derrick" Dang, 31, was charged Wednesday in King County Superior Court. Both charges are class C felonies, carrying a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

An investigation by the state insurance commmissioner's Special Investigations Unit found that in May 2010, Dang contacted insurer Ameriprise to say that his Toyota RAV4 had been hit by a hit-and-run driver while parked outside a home in Seattle. Ameriprise issued a check for $3,887.

Eight days after the accident, Dang obtained coverage over the internet from Allstate. Almost immediately, he filed a claim with Allstate for damage to the RAV4, saying that the car had been rear-ended while he was driving on Interstate 5. He also claimed that he'd been injured. Allstate issued a check for $3,502 for repairs to the vehicle.

A subsequent investigation by Allstate's anti-fraud unit showed that the RAV4 damage was identical in both claims.

A hearing in Dang's case is scheduled for June 13th.

Update (9/20/2011): King County Superior Court Judge Susan Craighead ordered Dang to pay restitution to both Allstate and Ameriprise, plus $600 to the court. He was also sentenced to 200 hours of community service.