Calif. Driver Grounded on Fraud Charges

May 10, 2004

Ventura County (Calif.) District Attorney Gregory Totten announced that the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit has obtained the conviction of defendant Todd Owen Balcom (DOB 11/30/50), of Port Hueneme, after a jury found him guilty of one felony count of insurance fraud and two felony counts of workers’ compensation fraud.

Balcom was a driver for the Foundation for Retarded Citizens of Ventura County, when he claimed he fell from a delivery truck, suffering a job-related injury.

Unable to work, he began receiving Temporary Total Disability payments from Majestic Insurance, the workers’ comp carrier for the charity. A representative from the insurance company telephoned Balcom to ask him about his claim; she reportedly heard his answering machine message, advertising his DJ and karaoke business. When Balcom was contacted a few days later, he reportedly denied working as a DJ, claiming that he no longer had the business and had simply neglected to delete the message from his machine.

A probe by the underwriting insurance company and an investigation by the California Department of Insurance Fraud Division revealed that Balcom was operating TNT Entertainment and was working Friday and Saturday nights as a DJ at the Wagon Wheel Bowl in Oxnard while collecting disability benefits.

A surveillance videotape reportedly showed Balcom working as a DJ at the bowling alley, and included a conversation wherein he discussed his rates and availability for parties and weddings. Testimony during the trial revealed Balcom rarely missed a weekend at the bowling alley since 1999, even working the night of his alleged initial job-related injury. Balcom received income from both his DJ job and his workers’ comp checks between December 2000 and September 2001, when his temporary total disability benefits were ended as a result of the investigation.

Balcom was charged with violating Penal Code section 550(b)(3), for failing to report his income from his employment as a DJ; Insurance Code section 1871.4 for signing his name to his disability checks, thereby certifying he was neither working nor had any income other than his disability benefits, and Insurance Code section 1871.4 for telling the insurance company representative that he was not working as a DJ.

Superior Court Judge Rebecca Riley ordered Balcom to return to court on June 8, 2004, for sentencing. He faces a maximum possible sentence of seven years in prison and fines of more than $50,000, plus restitution to the insurance carrier.

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