Each week we'll be surveying what the media, state agencies, insurance companies, and others report in terms of workers' comp fraud. Just like a police blotter, our workers' comp fraud blotter lists recent arrests, charges, convictions and investigations.
Workers' Comp Fraud Blotter - March 28, 2013
Disabled Cop Thought Playing Baseball Was Good For His Achy Back (CA) - Edward Idukas has pled guilty to workers' compensation fraud and paid $70,000 in restitution. Idukas, a former Oxnard city police officer, claimed that he hurt his back while bending over at his work locker and that he could not work. While receiving disability payments, though, Idukas was playing baseball in an adult league, which his attorney said was to help strengthen his back. His attorney said that while Idukas could call a timeout in baseball when his back hurt, he could not have called timeout while in his police squad car. Read more
Chiropractor Avoids Jail By Paying Over $100,000 In Restitution (OH) - Dr. David Esarco has pled guilty in two separate trial courts in Ohio and has agreed to repay over $108,000 for workers' compensation and insurance billings that he failed to perform services for. Esarco was caught after an undercover operative posed as an injured worker patient and Esarco later billed for services he never provided and billed on dates when the operative never had a scheduled office visit. Read more
Former Jailer Booked Into the Jail Where She Once Worked and Then Faked Illness (FL) - Angela Kleckner, a former jailer for the Brevard County Jail, has been arrested on charges of grand theft, perjury and filing false claims for allegedly faking an illness from her employment that has resulted in $665,000 in fraudulent payments. Kleckner claimed that she contracted MRSA, a serious and sometimes fatal bacterial infection, while working at the jail, and that she became homebound because she could not walk or lift items and had to use oxygen. Investigators conducted video surveillance at her horse ranch and found her going shopping and to the zoo, while also lifting, bending, and walking, all without the need for oxygen. Read more
Workers' Compensation Board Employee Used Job To Run Ponzi Scheme (Canada) - Carmelita Del Rosario has been criminally charged with two counts of fraud over $5000 for running an alleged Ponzi investment scheme that caused 49 investors to lose a combined total of almost two million dollars. Del Rosario worked in a clerical role at the Workers' Compensation Board of Alberta, but she told investors that she was a finance analyst there and that she was investing their money in a Workers' Compensation Board investment fund. The investment fund did not exist and Del Rosario, who received some of the funds from investors in her work parking lot, spent the money instead. Read more
Language Interpreter Unable To Talk Her Way Out of Jail Time (WA) - Betsaida "Betsy" Sosa has been sentenced to 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to first degree theft charges for fraudulently billing the Department of Labor & Industries for language interpretive services that she never provided. Sosa provided interpretation services for injured workers needing medical care, but she billed for amounts far in excess of the services and travel that she actually conducted, and she used false addresses and billed for appointments that never took place. Read more
Unlicensed Farm Labor Contractors Plead Guilty to Violating Farm Labor Contractor Licensing Law (ID) - A father and son, Angel Alba Sr. and his son, Angel Alba Jr., have both pled guilty to violating Idaho's farm labor contractor licensing law after they failed to pay two of their workers. An Idaho Department of Labor investigation determined that the Albas had no state license and had not obtained the required farm labor contractor bond or workers' compensation insurance, nor did they pay state, federal or Social Security taxes on the wages involved in the claims by the two workers. Read more
Injured Employee Ran Multiple Businesses While Receiving Benefits (OH) - Bernice Stephens has been found guilty by a jury of mail fraud, theft of public funds, and making a false statement. While receiving benefits for a prior workplace injury, Stephens was captured on video running her own clothing store, Devotice, while using the name of Naomi Miller. Stephens told investigators that she made African garments for weddings and events, and investigators received information that she also prepared income tax returns out of her home. Read more
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