‘Lost’ Rolex watch returns to Washington jeweler, owner faces fraud charge

Christopher Michalke, of Seattle, Washington, was charged in King County Superior Court with one count of filing a false insurance claim for a $14,753 Rolex watch after an investigation by the Criminal Investigations Unit of Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.

Michalke is due in court on October 25 for a hearing.

According to the investigation, Michalke purchased a “valuable personal property” insurance endorsement from the USAA in August 2019 to cover his Rolex Submariner watch which he purchased in 2018 for $14,753.

On August 7, 2020, Michalke reportedly filed a claim with the USAA stating that he lost the watch while wakeboarding on Lake Washington three days prior.

The USAA investigator found evidence that Michalke sold his watch to Bellevue Rare Coins for $8,750 on August 28, 2020 – 21 days after filing the claim. The USAA denied the request and referred the matter 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 a year in increased premiums. Insurance companies are required by law to report fraud to the Commissioner.

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