February 23, 2022
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Jessica Berman has been added to Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s insurance fraud most wanted after she failed to appear in Yakima County Superior Court to face five felony charges related to a reported auto theft. A bench warrant for her arrest was issued on Feb. 14 and bail is set for $10,000.
If you have information that may lead to their arrest, please contact your local law enforcement agency or contact Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU).
Berman was charged by Yakima County Prosecutor’s Office after an investigation by Kreidler’s CIU. According to the investigation, in May 2018 Berman obtained a $5,000 loan using her 2007 Audi Q7 as collateral. The next day she insured the vehicle with GEICO. The next week she reported the Audi stolen and filed a claim with GEICO, stating there was no lienholder for the vehicle. GEICO paid Berman $10,689 for the total loss of the vehicle.
In July 2018, Berman increased the loan amount on the totaled vehicle and received an additional $5,000 from the lender. The lender contacted Berman in 2019 about past-due payments on the loan and eventually contacted GEICO, finding out the vehicle had been totaled. GEICO paid the lender the balance of Berman’s loan, $9,789, as required by state lienholder laws, putting its exposure at $20,470. GEICO then referred the case to Kreidler’s 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.
Consumers can report suspected insurance fraud on the insurance commissioner’s website.