A 38-year-old East Wenatchee, Wash., man faces an April 24 trial on a charge of defrauding the state of workers’ compensation benefits in a case that goes back years.
Rodimiro Cardenas Pacheco pleaded not guilty today to a first-degree theft charge in Douglas County Superior Court. He is alleged to have received more than $39,000 in cash benefits from the state Department of Labor & Industries between August 2008 and June 2011 while he was working. The Douglas County Prosecuting Attorney’s office is prosecuting the case.
“Defrauding the state costs everyone and we are committed to finding and cracking down on those who intentionally abuse the workers’ comp system,” said Elizabeth Smith, L&I assistant director for Fraud Prevention and Labor Standards. “With this case, the investigators followed up on the tips and leads and didn’t give up, and it paid off.”
The case goes back more than a decade.
According to court documents, Pacheco filed an industrial injury claim with L&I in April 2000, and began receiving medical treatment and wage-replacement payments the next year.
In 2011, L&I investigators received an anonymous tip that Pacheco was working while still receiving state benefits. The tipster claimed Pacheco wanted to eventually get an L&I pension. Utilizing information from the state departments of Licensing and Employment Security, an L&I investigator found Pacheco working in a Wenatchee orchard. Pacheco later fled the area, and the court issued an arrest warrant, court documents said.
In January, L&I investigators received another tip and found Pacheco working in an Ephrata restaurant. They contacted police, who arrested Pacheco on Feb. 26. He is being held on $25,000 bail.
First-degree theft carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison plus a $20,000 fine and costs.
Source: Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
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