Investigators request ‘Judge Judy’ episode as part of fraud investigation

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A woman is under investigation by state insurance investigators after appearing on the “Judge Judy” show and admitting to vandalizing a vehicle on which she’d filed an insurance claim, court documents say.

The California Department of Insurance has requested documents and video related to the case of Lake v. Shuler that was recorded Sept. 25 for the long-running reality court show, according to documents filed Tuesday in Kern County Superior Court.

The investigation into the alleged fraud began in October regarding an insurance claim Kathie Shuler made to GEICO Insurance.

On April 7, 2019, Shuler sold a 2006 Honda Accord to a friend for $4,000 and a contract stating there would be monthly payments of $200 until the vehicle was paid off, according to the filings. Shuler also required that the buyer, Erin Lake, carry full coverage on the vehicle.

The documents say Shuler remained the car’s registered owner and on the vehicle’s title.

In August 2019, Shuler “appeared to be having financial troubles,” the documents say, and told Lake to pay the full remaining amount on the vehicle. Lake refused, and told Shuler she would continued to make the previously agreed upon $200 payments.

On Aug. 10, Shuler — in an act she later admitted to on the TV show — used a crowbar to smash the car’s front and rear windshields, according to the documents. As the car was no longer drivable, Lake returned it to Shuler.

She then sued Shuler and was awarded $1,630 for the money paid toward the vehicle, according to the documents.

Shuler attempted to countersue for scratches on the rear bumper of the car but was denied by the court. Investigators said it was in speaking with Lake they discovered the small claims court they appeared in was “Judge Judy.”

On the same day the show was recorded, Shuler contacted GEICO and filed an insurance claim saying Lake’s daughter drove the vehicle and damaged its rear bumper, according to the filings. Lake explained to GEICO representatives that Shuler admitted damaging the vehicle, and the claim was denied.

“I believe Shuler made a false insurance claim…in an attempt to get her vehicle fixed for damages she caused to the vehicle,” an investigator wrote in the documents.

No criminal charges are listed against Shuler in Kern County Superior Court.

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