A Lynnwood, Wash., man has been charged with insurance fraud after claiming that car thieves had made off with his $33,000 collection of silk neckties, the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner reported.
Carlton H. Wopperer, 49, is scheduled to be arraigned on July 6, 2010 in Snohomish County Superior Court on two counts of insurance fraud.
According to the OIC, three times in nine years, Wopperer claimed to the Mill Creek Police Department, thieves had stolen his collection of 212 silk neckties from his vehicle. He said that he’d taken the ties to a quilt shop to see about having them sewn onto a quilt for display. But an investigation revealed that Wopperer had returned many of the ties within minutes of buying them.
Wopperer purchased replacement ties from Nordstrom, Butch Blum, Barneys New York and Mario’s of Seattle, submitting the receipts to his insurer. His insurer, PEMCO Insurance, paid him $33,370 under the terms of a provision allowing for replacement cost of stolen items, the OIC said.
Six months later, on June 9, 2009, Wopperer reported a very similar crime. He told the Everett Police Department that his vehicle had been broken into while he was moving. The 212 replacement ties that he’d purchased following the January theft had been stolen, he said. He subsequently filed an insurance claim for approximately $35,000, the OIC said.
But a PEMCO adjuster, checking with the retailers, learned that most of the ties purchased in January had been returned almost immediately. PEMCO denied Wopperer’s claim and reported the case to Kreidler’s Special Investigations Unit. State investigators interviewed store employees, documented the paper trail and referred the case to the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office.
The investigation also revealed that there had been a third claim. Nine years earlier, on June 19, 2000, Wopperer told the Lynnwood Police Department that his collection of 212 silk ties had been stolen from his vehicle while parked at a mall. His insurer at the time paid his $16,900 claim, the OIC said.
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