Fraud News Around the Nation

February 25, 2016
Wyoming Man to Serve Probation for Workers’ Compensation Fraud

A Sheridan man accused of collecting disability payments while working for a tree service company has entered a no contest plea to one count of workers compensation fraud.

The Sheridan Press reports that Victor Rodriguez recently entered the plea in District Court. As a part of the plea agreement, a separate fraud charge was dropped.

Court documents state that Rodriguez twice fraudulently claimed workers disability in 2012.

Workers compensation fraud carries a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment and $5,000 fine.

As a part of the plea agreement, Rodriguez will serve one to five years of probation if Judge John G. Fenn agrees to the plea deal. If Rodriguez successfully completes his sentence, the charges will be removed from his record.

Washington Grocery Store Worker, Aesthetician Charged in Separate Workers’ Comp Fraud Cases

One claimed she hurt herself chasing a shoplifter, and the other insisted her spa injury was so serious she couldn’t work.

Now the two women in these unrelated cases face felony theft charges alleging they stole workers’ compensation benefits.

Marlo Diana Johnston and Sulia Hernandez Carranza each have been charged with one count of first-degree theft.

The Washington Attorney General’s Office filed the charges based on investigations by the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

Fibbing about a chase

Charging papers say Carranza claimed she injured her knee in May 2014 when chasing a shoplifter in her job as a loss prevention specialist at a Pasco grocery store. L&I opened a workers’ comp claim for Carranza, which provided medical care for the workplace injury. The store allowed her to keep working with medical restrictions while her knee was being treated.

In April 2015, however, Carranza admitted she wasn’t really injured on the job, according to the charges. She apologized to her employer, saying she filed the false claim to get medical treatment for a painful, preexisting knee problem.

Carranza is accused of stealing more than $11,000 in L&I benefits, including more than $7,200 for medical treatment. The amount also includes nearly $3,900 that L&I reimbursed the store for providing Carranza with light duty instead of requiring her regular job tasks.

Concealing job as aesthetician

Johnston is accused of stealing more than $16,000 in wage replacement payments while signing official L&I documents that she wasn’t working due to a workplace injury. In reality, charging papers say, she was working as an aesthetician at a medical services spa in Edmonds from September 2012 through February 2013.

Charging papers say she hid the fact she was working from L&I, her attorney, her L&I vocational counselor and the doctor who approved her to receive wage replacement benefits. Johnston originally injured her left hand while working for a Bellevue salon and spa in 2007.

L&I investigators discovered the case last year while comparing L&I workers’ comp records with state Employment Security Department payroll records.

Five North Carolina Women Staged Three U-Haul Accidents

Five Wilmington, N.C., women were arrested in connection with an alleged staged auto accident ring, according to an announcement by Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin. Investigators allege that over the course of three separate vehicle crashes, the women provided false statements to law enforcement and insurance companies in an effort to receive insurance benefits.

Doris Canty was charged with one count each of obtaining property by false pretense and insurance fraud. Canty was arrested on Feb. 8 in New Hanover County and placed under a $5,000 bond.

Jessica Denise Goodman was charged with three counts each of attempting to obtain property by false pretense and insurance fraud, two counts of felony conspiracy and one count each of misdemeanor conspiracy and misdemeanor child abuse. Goodman was arrested on Feb. 11 in New Hanover County and placed under a $100,000 bond.

Extase Shyneice Pollock was charged with two counts of felony conspiracy and one count each of injury to personal property, insurance fraud and misdemeanor conspiracy. Pollock was arrested on Jan. 29 in New Hanover County and placed under a $5,000 bond.

Shaquetta Sade Washington was charged in New Hanover County with one count of aiding and abetting to obtain property by false pretense. Washington was arrested on Feb. 16 in New Hanover County and placed under a $5,000 bond.

Investigators seek an additional suspect in association with this case. Teresa Halsey Pollock is wanted for two counts of felony conspiracy and one count each of attempting to obtain property by false pretense, insurance fraud and misdemeanor conspiracy.

The allegedly staged accidents occurred on Aug. 4, Oct. 10 and Dec. 4, 2015, and involved Repwest, Wilshire and Allstate insurance companies.

AP contributed to this story.

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