Friday, September 5, 2014

Pierce County woman ordered to repay insurance company for fraudulent car claim

A Pierce County woman was sentenced to 60 days of electronic home monitoring and ordered to repay $17,426 to Travelers Insurance for attempting to collect insurance money for a car she claimed was stolen and destroyed in a fire. Donica Santos, 40, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree theft and one count of insurance fraud in Pierce County Superior Court last month.

In March 2012, a driver reported Santos’ vehicle was on fire on the side of Reservation Road in north Thurston County at about 1:40 a.m. on March 16, 2012. Santos reported to Travelers’ Insurance Co. later that day that her car had been stolen from her Tacoma home and was a total loss. Santos told investigators that she had last seen her vehicle the previous night and had not left her house or used her cell phone between 10:30 p.m. and 2:50 a.m., when police arrived at her house to investigate.

However, Santos’ cell phone records showed she used her phone repeatedly late the evening of March 15 and the early morning hours of March 16; several of the calls were made in Thurston County, near where her 2006 Chrysler 300C was found on fire. 

Travelers denied the claim, but was required by state law pay off the car loan balance of $17,426.

Santos was charged in December 2013 after she was investigated by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Special Investigations Unit.