Southland bride tied up in fraud scheme through The Knot
News: 2019 Press Release
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Vermyttya Miller, 37, of Santa Clarita, was sentenced to five years in county jail and ordered to pay $22,500 in restitution after pleading no contest to one count of felony insurance fraud for a wedding fraud scheme she concocted to rip off an insurer who collaborated with The Knot to offer event cancellation insurance products — not once but twice.
In October 2016, Miller booked a wedding reception through The Knot website for the Galleria Ballroom in Glendale, CA, which came with a $10,000 event cancellation/postponement insurance policy provided by Tokio Marine. Soon after booking the reception, Miller claimed she tripped on her wedding dress and was injured so severely that she had to cancel the wedding reception and filed an insurance claim under the $10,000 policy.
The Knot collaborated with Tokio Marine in 2016, formerly HCC Specialty Underwriters at the time in 2016, to offer their event cancellation insurance product to couples who used The Knot's venue booking service to help book their wedding venue. The Knot stopped offering Tokio Marine's product to users in 2017.
To support her cancellation claim, Miller provided medical reports documenting her injuries. On October 31, 2016, the insurer delivered a $10,000 check to Miller. Then, in an interesting twist, Miller e-mailed Tokio Marine on December 4, 2016, to report her $10,000 check was stolen and provided a copy of a police report she allegedly filed with the Vallejo Police Department in Northern California. Evidence revealed Miller actually doctored a previously submitted police report for a different incident that occurred years earlier.
“Miller’s trail of fraudulent claims led straight to a five-year jail sentence after department detectives unraveled her scheme,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “Insurance fraud is a felony with serious penalties and consequences. We are committed to uncovering fraud and working with prosecutors to bring criminals to justice.”
Miller reported to the insurer that her $10,000 claim check was stolen and the Vallejo Police Department was investigating the theft. Miller provided the insurer with investigative details she said the Vallejo Police Department reported to her.
The insurer, Tokio Marine, referred the claim to the Department of Insurance for investigation. Detectives uncovered evidence that Miller falsified the medical reports of her injury, which she used to file the original claim. Detectives also found Miller doctored the Vallejo Police report she used to substantiate her claim that the $10,000 check was stolen.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case and Miller pleaded no contest to one count of felony insurance fraud and was ordered to pay restitution for the $10,000 she received and an additional $12,500 for investigative costs.
Miller was remanded to the custody of the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood where she is serving her five-year sentence.
# # #
Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at www.insurance.ca.gov via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.