May 26, 2022
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Lesoo Vaafuti of Pacific, WA and Cindy Castaneda of Othello, WA were charged with insurance fraud in King County Superior Court after investigations completed by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU).
The King County Prosecutor’s Office recently charged Lesoo Vaafuti with one count of filing a fraudulent insurance claim. According to CIU’s investigation, Vaafuti was involved in a single car collision back in March 2021. Vaafuti purchased a policy with Progressive on March 25, 2021, and then filed a claim with Progressive ten days later stating the collision occurred on April 4, 2021.
However, Progressive found a police report showing that the collision occurred on March 21, 2021, which was four days before Lesoo Vaafuti bought the insurance policy. Progressive denied the claim to repair $9,129.47 in damages to Vaafuti’s vehicle and referred the claim to CIU.
Cindy Castaneda was also charged by the King County Prosecutor’s Office with filing a fraudulent insurance claim. CIU’s investigation found Castaneda had purchased an auto insurance policy with Progressive for her 2007 Tiffin Motorhome in June 2020.
Later that summer, Castaneda reported that the trailer she was pulling jackknifed when she was backing up, causing damage to the rear of her motorhome. She filed a claim with Progressive to repair the damage, estimated at $15,209.59. Further investigation revealed Castaneda had dropped the motorhome off at Coach Masters of Bend Inc. in Bend, Oregon for warranty repair work in February 2020 and the motorhome had remained at the facility until September 2020.
When Progressive questioned Castaneda about the motorhome being in the repair facility at the time of loss, Castaneda withdrew her claim. Progressive then referred the case over to CIU as required by state law.
Kreidler’s CIU investigates insurance fraud and works with the Washington State Patrol and state and local prosecutors on criminal cases. Insurance fraud costs the average family $400 to $700 per year in increased premiums. Insurance companies are required by law to report fraud to the commissioner.
If you suspect someone has committed insurance fraud, report it to Kreidler’s investigators.