Fraud fugitives: Help team dedicated to catching state’s ‘most wanted’ insurance scam suspects; 1 arrested

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INSURANCE FUGITIVES 2CAPTURE UPDATE —
Leandre Garner was arrested during a traffic stop in California, then transported and booked into the Pierce County Jail on Tuesday, February 23rd.

Baterdene Shinebayer and Branko Cekarmis are still wanted.

FUGITIVES WANTED July 10, 2015 —
Have you ever looked at your insurance bill and thought, “I wish this didn’t cost so much.” One of the reasons you pay more in premiums is because of fraud. The crimes range from arson for profit to staged car crashes to medical provider fraud which is on the rise right now, unfortunately – but there is one team in our state dedicated to catching the worst offenders and they have their own most wanted list.

“I seen the tire marks that was dug into the dirt so I knew that somebody had hopped over just to hit my car,” says Leandre Garner talking to State Farm, claiming his Chrysler 300 was a victim of a hit and run the day after he bought his insurance — a huge red flag. “I just seen that the front right side of my bumper and my headlight was cracked and it was pushed in.”

“We call his case a 'Pay as you Crash,” says Mark Couey, the Director of the Special Investigations Unit for the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner. He says Garner filed a claim for $4,3338.56 to fix his car. 'In August of 2013 Garner was charged in Pierce County with insurance fraud as well as criminal attempted theft, 2nd degree. He failed to appear and a bench warrant was issued. "

That's one example of the kinds of cases Director Couey's unit investigates.

“They file that claim hoping to 'Win the Lotto' so to speak and get a payout."

Five detectives and two criminal analysts work with prosecutors and law enforcement around the state to fight insurance fraud. "All of us are required to purchase various types of insurance, so this affects all of us and we`re all paying for it, so if it sounds like it`s not that big of a deal, well you need to think about who`s paying for all these payouts and it`s all of us in increased insurance premiums."

Take the case of Branko Cekarmis, an insurance agent accused of stealing the money that his clients paid for their policies. “Our mission is to protect consumers, so a consumer is thinking they`re paying their insurance payment for whatever type of insurance and then that person is walking away with the money.” Cekarmis has had an arrest warrant since 2011.

And then there's Baterdene Shinebayer. “Our investigation led to showing that he has a pattern of filing false claims in a variety of states.” He's also been on the run since 2011 -- one of three fugitives the Special Investigations Unit has on their ‘most wanted’ list. "If they are watching or a relative or a loved one is watching, they should do the right thing and ask them to turn themselves in."

If you know where they're hiding, call an anonymous tip into:
CRIME STOPPERS: 1-800-222-TIPS

You must call the Crime Stoppers hotline with your tip to be eligible to receive a cash reward for information leading to a fugitive’s arrest.

CLICK HERE for information on how to TEXT A TIP to Crime Stoppers.