LOS ANGELES (AP) — Farmers Group Inc. has sued a so-called catastrophe chaser accused of submitting false insurance claims relating to a series of California wildfires.

The lawsuit unsealed Tuesday claims Glenn Sims orchestrated a scam in which he filed either sham or inflated claims for supposed smoke and ash damage suffered by homeowners in several fires dating back to in 2003.

The lawsuit estimates there were more than 270 false claims made to Farmers totaling about $7 million. The filings seek to recover three times that amount as well as civil penalties.

Sims’ attorney, Michael Chaney, says he couldn’t comment on the lawsuit because he hadn’t seen it.

Sims faces insurance fraud charges in Ventura stemming from a similar alleged scam following the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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