Language Interpreter Gets Jail Time for Overcharging State

March 25, 2013

A Tacoma, Wash., woman received a 90-day jail term and must pay restitution after pleading guilty to first degree theft charges for fraudulently billing the Department of Labor & Industries for language interpretive services she never provided.

Under terms of her sentence in Thurston County Superior Court, Betsaida “Betsy” Sosa will be allowed to convert 60 days of the sentence to home detention or work release if she is eligible for one of those programs. If not, she will serve the entire 90 days. She must also pay $34,208 in restitution.

Sosa contracted with L&I to provide interpretation services for injured workers needing medical care, billing the agency for both the services and her mileage to various appointments. An L&I auditor discovered that Sosa billed for amounts far in excess of the services and travel that actually occurred. Further investigation determined that she used false addresses and billed for appointments that never took place.

L&I’s Fraud Prevention and Compliance Program assessed $24.6 million in unpaid employer premiums plus penalties in fiscal year 2012. The program brings in nearly $9.30 for every dollar spent to fight fraud.

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