Man Allegedly Commits Insurance Fraud With Fake Dead Cat

Back in March 2009, a customer of PEMCO insurance was in a minor car accident, and the company paid out $3,452 for damages to the other driver’s car. Simple enough. No injuries were reported, and no pets in the car. Which is why it caught some PEMCO employees’ attention when the other driver filed a claim two and a half years later, seeking $20,000 for the death of his cat, Tom. The animal was “like a son” to him, he claimed. But “Tom” only existed as photos of someone else’s cats, readily available on the Internet. The state of Washington has charged the man with felony insurance fraud.

There are many things that the alleged fraudster did wrong here: he asked for too much money, waited too long, submitted no vet or necropsy records, and–this is the key error–never actually owned a cat. But arguably the best clue investigators had were the photos he submitted of a living “Tom.” They were of different cats, and looked astonishingly similar to the top results of a Google Images search for “white cat.”

PEMCO had issued the man a check for $50, an insurer’s idea of the value of an actual dead cat. They stopped payment after discovering the scam.

Man faces charges after claiming $20,000 for fake dead cat [Press Release] (via Huffington Post – thanks, Anti!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Nobby says:

    Cats have nine lives. I’m confident the cat probably still has several left so no payment would be due even if this wasn’t fraud.

  2. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    I guess the author of “101 Uses for a Dead Cat” can make it 102 Uses in his next edition.

  3. Kabusted says:

    I wonder if that works for prisoner execution. If you die, but come back to life sometime later, do you get set free, or is your sentence commuted or do they try again? Technically, the prisoner did fulfill his end of the bargain and died. Does it stipulate that he must stay dead? Same for the cat, must he stay dead?

    • RandomLetters says:

      Immediately after the execution is the autopsy. Once you’ve been disassembled like that if you probably aren’t going to recover from it (unless you’re Claire Bennet from Heroes).

  4. Coles_Law says:

    I can’t help but feel this was posted in part to justify the use of a cat photo :).

  5. Blueskylaw says:

    This man deserves his $20,000 because of how much he suffered. Seriously, what’s a little fraud since we’re “only” talking $20,000. By the way, the article forgot to mention that this man is an executive at Bunk of America.

  6. noahproblem1 says:

    OK, we, as a society, have officially reached a new low…

  7. The Colonel says:

    At least he took some time to edit the photo.

  8. J-Purchase says:

    How hard would it have been to take a pic of a friend’s cat? Or, hell, just go to the pound and snap a couple of quick shots of one.

    Lazy fraudsters making the entire fraud industry look bad.

  9. Thunder Storm says:

    The copyright owner of the white cat picture should obviously sue. The guy stole the picture. ;)

  10. Invader Zim says:

    Well I guess two cats can look alike and if you really look at the pictures those are two different cats. The pupils are different, the nose is a slightly different color, and there is a background image on the upper right side of one that is not in the pict of the other. OK I did my devil advocate for the day.

  11. abruke says:

    The guy really should have contacted the Schrodinger’s Institute for advice on what to do with the cat. Obviously, he had put the cat in a box with some poison gas and a radioactive isotope then got confused…

  12. Haplo9000 says:

    My cat died today, so I feel I can say with some authority: Fuck this guy.

  13. IraAntelope says:

    I wish I had known about this…could have provided him a whole bag of (live) cats for much less than $2000. Should the cat have not been in a carrier or safety harness? And if you see 1 white cat, you have seen them all, so that is no help. I am surprised they even came up with 50 bucks.

  14. dush says:

    Kill a cat, get $50. Sounds too good to be true.

  15. Sham says:

    The following day, the Seattle Times ran the following story:

    The story is the same as mentioned above but with extra detail. My favorite part:

    “When Pemco refused to pay the $20,000 and revoked the original check for $50, Samsonov contacted the state insurance commissioner’s office, asking the agency to advocate for him, Roesler said.

    That didn’t go as Samsonov had apparently hoped.”

    The guy basically shot himself in the foot by going to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

  16. Jalapenos says:

    Isn’t it like really obvious if you pull off an image from the internet and claim that its yours? Lol, the driver must’ve been really stupid.

  17. jacobs cows says:

    $50 ?