Authorities Nab Correctional Officer in Alleged Workers’ Comp Fraud Scam

December 17, 2004

A former Folsom Prison Correctional Officer was arrested Dec. 15 after an investigation into alleged workers’ compensation fraud in which investigators video-taped her using a jet ski, a water slide, and performing other extensive physical activities despite her claims that a work injury prevented her from doing so.

The California Department of Corrections Office of Investigative Services and the Department of Insurance Fraud Division conducted a joint investigation and arrested June Ann Lucena, 41, of Placerville, California. She was arrested and booked into the Sacramento County jail on one count of attempted perjury and one count of issuing a false statement to fraudulently obtain compensation. Bail was set at $10,000.

Lucena was injured while working on a tower at the prison in April 1999. She subsequently opened a claim with the State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF), a claim which eventually cost the carrier $170,309. Investigators, who opened the case in April of this year, said Lucena duped doctors and the system by exaggerating her injuries to receive benefits.

“When a person defrauds the system it is an added cost that hurts all of the employers and workers in California,” said Commissioner John Garamendi. “But it is particularly disappointing when public servants are caught in the act. My investigators worked closely with the Department of Corrections to end this alleged scam, and we won’t stop there in our efforts against workers’ compensation fraud.”

Lucena, in her initial complaints after falling from the tower, told doctors that she was in constant pain and was unable to perform certain physical activities. She specifically complained of pain in her back, head, neck, shoulder and leg. After her diagnosis she received benefits based on her claims.

After an anonymous tip, investigators took up the case and found evidence that Lucena’s injuries were apparently not as serious as reported. With surveillance video the investigators taped Lucena riding jet skis, water slides, doing back-flip dives off of the jet ski, and performing other physical activities which she had previously told her doctors she was unable to perform. Lucena resigned from the Department of Corrections in November, 2003, but still received medical retirement benefits.

The case will be prosecuted by the Sacramento County DA’s office. If convicted, Lucena could face up to five years in state prison and/or a maximum fine of $150,000. The investigation continues.

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