Sacks & Zolonz, LLP class=
Serving California
Toll Free : 800-461-0268

Former DMV employee convicted of disability fraud given jail time

In general, if an employee of the state of California suffers a serious injury or illness that leaves them unable to perform their duties for a permanent or undetermined duration, they may apply for monthly disability retirement or industrial disability retirement benefits via the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS).

While this system performs an extremely valuable service for employees and their families, there are always some people looking to exploit it. Regrettably, they think that lying about their injuries to secure tax-free benefits is a victimless crime and costs nothing.

This couldn't be further from the truth, as disability claim fraud hurts both employees and taxpayers alike.

Interestingly, a Sacramento Superior Court judge recently sentenced a 41-year-old woman to jail time and probation for committing this very crime.

According to sources, Lisa T. was employed as a part-time personnel specialist for the Department of Motor Vehicles and filed a disability retirement application with CalPERS in July 2008 claiming that chronic pain/fatigue coupled with anxiety had left her unable to leave her home.

Specifically, she stated in the application that "it is impossible to sit comfortably, write, key, use my hands, lift, squat, bend, stand, reach, walk, kneel, complete tasks, concentrate or hold a mouse, hold a pen, or hold a phone in the crook of my neck or hand for even a small period of time without pain."

She went on to state, "Chronic pain and fatigue have made it impossible for me to concentrate and focus and my memory has been impaired."

Its suspicions aroused, CalPERS conducted an undercover investigation of Lisa T. to determine if she was truly injured. Shockingly, they were able to secure four hours of video footage showing her engaging in a variety of normal and even vigorous activities, including:

  • Lifting, holding and jogging after a toddler
  • Bowling
  • Shopping and carrying bags
  • Jumping and cheering at a soccer game

She was eventually arrested in 2009, and charged with filing a false benefit claim and making false statements in support of the claim. She was later convicted of these charges by a jury, and sentenced just last week to three years of informal probation and 40 days in jail.

Workers compensation fraud/employee fraud is a very serious crime. If you suspect that such a crime has been perpetrated against your organization, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced workers' comp defense attorney.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Sources:

The Sacramento Bee, "Former California DMV employee sentenced in fraud case," Jon Ortiz, Jan. 4, 2013

The Sacramento Bee, "Former California DMV worker convicted of disability claim fraud" Jon Ortiz, Nov. 2, 2012

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Sacks & Zolonz, LLP
638 North Eckhoff Street
St. Orange, CA 92868

Toll Free: 800-461-0268
St. Orange Law Office Map

Sacks & Zolonz, LLP
400 Corporate Pointe, Suite 800
Culver City, CA 90230

Toll Free: 800-461-9246
Phone: 310-216-7778
Fax: 310-216-9552
Culver City Law Office Map

Sacks & Zolonz, LLP
9513 Business Center Drive, Suite H
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

Toll Free: 800-461-0268
Phone: 909-476-1333
Fax: 909-476-2131
Rancho Cucamonga Law Office Map