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Seattle woman busted for insurance fraud

Say you’re in a car accident after you let your insurance policy lapse. Tempted to quickly renew it?

State insurance officials say a Seattle woman did just that, when she got into an accident last year, then renewed her policy hours later, and claimed $6,500 in damages.

But Margaret Balderama was busted when witnesses told an investigator they’d seen her car with extensive damage hours before her reported time of the crash, the state Insurance Commissioner’s office said Wednesday.

Witnesses also said the damage was visible hours before Balderama called GEICO to renew her policy, which had lapsed more than seven months earlier.

Balderama, who said her car had been damaged in a hit-and-run, pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor charge of insurance fraud last month. Sentencing is scheduled for next week.

The case follows a similar one earlier this week, in which a Pierce County man pleaded guilty to insurance fraud, after saying his car had been wrecked in a hit-and-run and collecting a $4,500  settlement.

In reality, the man, Warren Gardinier, had been driving erratically and crashed into a fence. He was sentenced to 40 days in jail.

Seattle PI

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Written by lordsinsurancelog

May 6, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Posted in Insurance News