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‘Lost’ Rolex watch turns up at jewelry shop, owner faces fraud charge

October 15, 2021

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Christopher Michalke, of Seattle, was charged in King County Superior Court with one felony count of filing a false insurance claim for a $14,753 Rolex watch after an investigation by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU). Michalke is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 25 for a hearing.

According to the investigation, Michalke bought a “valuable personal property” insurance rider from USAA in August 2019 to cover his Rolex Submariner watch that he bought in 2018 for $14,753. On Aug. 7, 2020, Michalke filed a claim with USAA stating that he lost the watch while he was wakeboarding on Lake Washington three days prior.  

USAA’s investigator found evidence that Michalke sold his watch to Bellevue Rare Coins for $8,750 on Aug. 28, 2020 – 21 days after he filed the claim. USAA denied the claim and 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.