Santa Barbara Hotel Housekeeper Pleads Guilty to Fraud

December 30, 2005

Fabiola Rosas DeArzate, aka Blanca Estela Garcia DeArzate, 35, of Santa Barbara, Calif., has plead guilty to insurance fraud and was sentenced to 120 days in county jail, five years formal probation, and ordered to pay $28,911 in restitution to Explorer Insurance Co., according to the California Department of Insurance.

DeArzate specifically denied to her medical doctors and later in a deposition, that she had received any prior injuries to the same parts of her body from a previous workers’ comp case. She did this to collect additional benefits she was not entitled to receive, CDI said.

According to CDI, the case began in September 2000, when DeArzate, while working as a housekeeper at a Super 8 Motel in Goleta, Calif., tripped and fell down some stairs, injuring her lower back, waist, neck, hips, left arm and head. DeArzate, working under the name Blanca Estela Garcia DeArzate, provided a false copy of her Resident Alien Identification Card number and a copy of a false social security number to obtain employment with Super 8. DeArzate later filed a workers’ compensation claim against her employer and was placed on temporary total disability while receiving medical treatment. This injury was determined to be legitimate.

The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, in October 2001, awarded DeArzate $32,500 for her injuries. Because of the severity of the injuries, she was declared a Qualified Injured Worker. DeArzate was not able to continue her customary work as a housekeeper and was sent to vocational rehabilitation for training as an electrician assembler. She successfully completed her training at Bilingual Vocational Center in Santa Barbara in January 2002. Sierra Insurance Group paid more than $80,000 in indemnity payments, medical benefits, rehabilitation and other expenses related to her claim, CDI said.

According to Department of Insurance investigators, approximately one month after DeArzate completed her re-training as an electrical assembler, she applied for another housekeeping job with
Pacifica Suites Hotel in Santa Barbara, now using her true identity, Fabiola Rosas DeArzate. On her second day of employment, she sustained a lower back injury when she slipped and fell at the Pacifica Suites.

The case unfolded when DeArzate’s employer, Pacifica Suites, received information about her $28,911 prior claim against the Super 8 Motel.

Explorer Insurance Co. later discovered that Fabiola Rosas DeArzate had a prior workers’ comp claim using the name of Blanca Estela Garcia DeArzate. The claim was for the same body parts alleged in the prior claim.

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