Yakima County Courthouse

FILE — The Yakima County Courthouse.

Prosecutors dismissed insurance fraud and theft charges against a Yakima businessman earlier this year after he paid back the insurance company, authorities said.

There were problems with evidence in the case against William Edwin Gaethle that would have made convincing a jury to convict him difficult, Deputy Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Ellis said in a Tuesday interview.

In August, prosecutors agreed to drop the charges with prejudice after Gaethle agreed to pay back the money he received from his insurance company after filing a theft claim on a company van owned by an employee, Ellis said.

By dropping the charges without prejudice, prosecutors cannot refile them, even if more evidence were to be found.


Every day Yakima Police officers respond to hundreds of calls, and here you can see details of the last 30 days of incidents.

Gaethle, 46, was charged in February after he reported a company van was taken Feb. 3, 2016, from his business in the 2100 block of West Nob Hill Boulevard, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by the state Insurance Commissioner’s Office. An employee who was fired was the owner of the van at the time, but Gaethle was planning to buy the vehicle, the affidavit said.

Gaethle, the affidavit said, received $19,550.80 from his insurance carrier for the theft claim. The insurance company later learned that the van did not belong to Gaethle and demanded the money back, the affidavit said, and Gaethle did not send the money back.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The story has been changed to reflect that charges were dismissed with prejudice.

Reach Donald W. Meyers at dmeyers@yakimaherald.com or on Twitter: donaldwmeyers, or https://www.facebook.com/donaldwmeyersjournalist/


How much crime happens in your town?

We used the latest crime rate data from the FBI to illustrate how much crime happens in every part of the Yakima Valley.

First, select a Yakima County law enforcement agency from the left drop down menu. Then select a type of crime from the right menu to see how your town compares.

Crimes reported

Crime rate per 100,000 people

Washington State Rate

United States Rate

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports

Crime rates are reported as the number of incidents known of by law enforcement per 100,000 people living in the jurisdiction.
1The FBI says it believes the Yakima County Sheriff's Office under reported the number of incidents in 2018
2Wapato's data for 2018 is not reliable.