Seattle woman pleads guilty to insurance fraud

Woman pleads guilty to insurance fraud in fender-bender case

By VANESSA HO

SEATTLEPI.COM STAFF

An Issaquah woman pleaded guilty to three insurance fraud charges, after she got into a minor car accident, claimed major back pain, sued the other driver and used fake medical records to scam more than $300,000 from two insurance companies, state officials said Friday.

In November of 2004, Linda Ann Rose was driving in a Sammamish parking lot when an SUV backed into her car at “a very low speed,” the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner said in court records.

Rose then visited several doctors complaining of back pain and eventually had back surgery. The other driver, Margaret Jobe, had insurance through three carriers, and Rose demanded money from all three, prosecutors said.

Rose gave the insurers her previous medical records, which showed many references to knee problems, but none to any pre-existing back pain, court records show. MetLife, Jobe’s car insurer, paid out $60,000.

Rose also sued Jobe and her husband. The lawsuit settled for $800,000, releasing Jobe from liability and paving the way for Rose to go after two more insurers, Progressive and RLI.

Progressive paid $250,000 of the settlement. But when Rose tried to squeeze the remaining $550,000 from RLI, the company got suspicious and dug up Rose’s true medical records. It discovered that Rose had repeatedly replaced the word “back” with “knee” in the records, and that she had suffered from back pain since 2000, according to court documents.

On top of scamming the insurance companies, Rose created a financial hardship for her victim. In court records, Jobe described how the case had caused her and her husband to drain their kids’ college funds to pay nearly $15,000 in legal fees. She said the judgment against them, which has been vacated, had affected their credit score.

 

“We feel tricked and victimized and outraged,” Jobe said in a court declaration.

Rose – who entered a modified guilty plea last week to three counts of “false claims or proof” – is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 16 in King County Superior Court.

Rich Roesler, a spokesman for the Insurance Commissioner, said insurance fraud hurts all consumers.

“A big fraud case like this can have a trickle-down effect on all premium payers,” he said. “That’s why fraud enforcement matters.”

 

Vanessa Ho can be reached at 206-448-8003 or vanessaho@seattlepi.com. Follow Vanessa on Twitter at twitter.com/vanessaho.