Ventura County (Calif.) District Attorney Gregory Totten announced that the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit has obtained the conviction of defendant Karren Jeanette Thomas (DOB 12/10/56), of Ojai, of one felony count of workers’ compensation fraud.
Thomas was a part-time employee of the Ventura County Star in their sales and circulation department. Shortly after being denied a vacation request, Thomas reportedly claimed she suffered a work-related injury, and, unable to work, began receiving Temporary Total Disability payments.
A probe by the underwriting insurance company reportedly revealed that Thomas was operating a manicure business and receiving income without notifying the insurer, which is prohibited when a person is receiving Temporary Total Disability payments. Thomas then reportedly testified under oath at a deposition that she could not use her injured hand; was not performing manicures for paying customers while using her injured hand; could not lift items heavier than a book; and could not drive her husband’s pickup truck.
A surveillance videotape obtained by the insurance company’s special investigations unit reportedly showed Thomas lifting heavy furniture; using her injured hand to hoist a color television into the back of a truck; and depicted her driving her husband’s pickup truck.
Superior Court Judge Rebecca Riley ordered Thomas to pay $26,000 restitution to RSKCO (formerly CNA), with interest accruing at 10 percent per year starting April 6, and $10,000 in fines.
The court elected not to send Thomas to the California Department of Corrections at this time, instead placing her on 60-
months formal probation and sentencing her to 120 days in the Ventura County Jail. Thomas was also ordered to pay a monthly probation supervision fee of $44; to reimburse the Probation Agency $1,458 for the cost of its investigation, and, as a condition of probation, was prohibited from owning or possessing a weapon.
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