The cat's out of the bag.
A Washington State man has been charged with fraud after allegedly filing an insurance claim for a dead cat that never existed.
In March 2009, Yevgeniy M. Samsonov was involved in a minor car accident when he was rear-ended at a red light, according to the Seattle Times. Samsonov, 29, filed an insurance claim to cover treatment for soft tissue injuries, and was awarded $3,452 from the other driver's insurer, PEMCO.
However, two and a half years later, Samsonov filed another claim with PEMCO, stating that his pet cat, "Tom," was killed in the accident. PEMCO wrote him a $50 check, King 5 reports, but Samsonov asserted that this was not enough. Not only had he paid $1,000 for the cat, Samsonov told insurers, but "Tom" was like a "son" to him.
Samsonov sent PEMCO two photos of an adorable white cat with blue eyes, and asked for $20,000.
When PEMCO received Samsonov's hefty request, an employee searched Google images for white cats with blue eyes, according to the Associated Press. The employee allegedly found the same images Samsonov had submitted on a variety of websites. It appeared that the photos were actually of two different cats, neither of which belonged to Samsonov.
Samsonov has been charged with first-degree attempted theft and felony insurance fraud, according to Kiro TV.. He'll be arraigned next week, according to the Seattle Times.
"We've handled some pretty unusual fraud cases," Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said, "but this is one of the stranger ones."
CORRECTION NOTICE: A previous version of this story inadvertently suggested that PEMCO had been planning to award Samsonov the full $20,000 he requested before they discovered the cat photos were fake. The story has been modified to remove this suggestion.