Four Californians Arrested for Workers’ Comp Fraud

January 14, 2005

Joint investigations by the California Department of Insurance’s Fraud Division and the Imperial County District Attorney’s Office have resulted in the felony arrests of four suspects for multiple counts of workers’ compensation insurance fraud. The ongoing investigations began more than a year ago.

Each of the four suspects, if found guilty, faces up to five years in state prison and/or a maximum fine of $50,000.

Most recently, Roberto Herrera of Calexico, Calif., was arrested Dec. 20, 2004. While employed as a meat cutter at Brawley Beef Company, Herrera allegedly made false statements to his workers’ comp physician when he claimed he was unable to do his customary work due to the extent of his injuries. He also allegedly made false statements in his workers’ comp claim by stating that he had no earnings during his claim period. The resulting loss to the insurance carrier was $13,066.

Three earlier arrests include Juan Ramirez, of El Centro; Joe Diaz, of Brawley; and Marco Armenta, of Calexico.

Ramirez, a tendon puller while employed at Brawley Beef Company, was arrested on July 2, 2004, after investigators alleged that he was working for two other employers while collecting workers’ comp benefits. Ramirez originally claimed he injured his wrists while working for Brawley Beef Company.

Diaz, a rib-saw operator while employed at Brawley Beef Company, was arrested on June 24, 2004, after investigators discovered an allegedly fraudulent workers’ comp claim for a back injury. Diaz allegedly failed to let the medical providers know that he had at least four previous workers’ comp claims for back injuries. In addition, the investigation revealed that Diaz had a 2000 conviction for workers’ comp fraud and is currently on probation. His sentence could be enhanced If found guilty.

Armenta was arrested on June 18, 2004, for filing an allegedly false claim. He claimed that a pipe fell on him while performing court-ordered community service for the City of Calexico. Investigators discovered evidence indicating this was a false claim.

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