Carlton Wopperer, Well-Dressed Con, Charged With Fraud After Claiming Thieves Stole $33,000 Worth of Ties

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Say this for Carlton Wopperer: he's got better taste in neckwear than your average con. In January the 49-year-old Lynnwood man told Mill Creek police that thieves had broken into his car and stolen four plastic containers filled with silk ties, a total of 212 worth a Wopping $33,000. Then in June he tried to pull the same scam again, only this time with the cops in Everett.

Filing two identical claims within six months tends to make insurance companies suspicious. And because they are used to people trying to screw them -- which is why, incidentally, they're so good at screwing their customers -- Wopperer's insurers decided to take a closer look at his receipts.

From them they found out that most of his replacement ties -- fancy duds he purchased from stores like Nordstrom, Butch Blum, Barneys New York and Mario's of Seattle -- had been returned almost immediately, sometimes within minutes.

"You can't return a product, keep the receipt, and then claim that the product was stolen. That's classic insurance fraud," says Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. "And insurance fraud drives up the cost of premiums for everyone else."

Indeed. Wopperer has now been charged with two counts of insurance fraud. If it's his first offense he'll probably get off with a fine. But if it's not, he'll most likely end up in a place where wearing a fancy tie either means you're a lawyer or severely overdressed.

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