A Renton, WA man has been added to Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kriedler’s insurance fraud most wanted list after trying to defraud his insurer by claiming his repossessed car was “stolen.”
The King County Prosecutor’s Office has charged John Michael St. Clair with false claims or proof, and issued a warrant for his arrest – due to additional warrants served against him in the past, as well as his history of failing to appear for court hearings.
According to the Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU), St. Clair traded in his 2018 Audi and another 2019 Audi to purchase an Audi S8 in April 2021. But unknown to the dealer at that time, St. Clair had an outstanding lien on one of the cars. The dealership ended up paying $14,468 to clear up the lien.
The dealership later informed St. Clair that he had to return the Audi S8, because of the lien. When St. Clair failed to comply, the Audi S8 was repossessed with the help of Renton police. The repossession was performed with St. Clair’s full knowledge.
On the following day after the car was repossessed, St. Clair filed a stolen vehicle report with Seattle Police Department. He also filed a claim with his insurer GEICO, saying that the vehicle was stolen. St. Clair was looking to receive a $129,500 insurance payout for the value of the vehicle.
But GEICO launched an investigation of its own, the Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner said in a release, discovering that the vehicle in question was repossessed and not stolen. The insurer denied the claim and notified the CIU. CIU’s own investigation then confirmed the insurer’s findings, and the case was eventually referred to the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
The Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner has encouraged anyone who has information on St. Clair to either contact their local enforcement agency or the CIU.