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Fresno Co. Employee Arrested for Workers' Comp Fraud, Grand Theft

When employees suffer serious or debilitating work-related injuries or illnesses, they can turn to workers' compensation insurance for much needed financial assistance. While the majority of employees make legitimate workers' compensation claims, others choose to engage in employee fraud, meaning they fabricate or exaggerate injuries and make fraudulent workers' compensation claims.

Unfortunately, this was recently the case in Fresno County, where 38-year-old Rob Cavazos was arrested on 12 counts of insurance fraud, including one count of grand theft for filing false claims with the California State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF).

According to the office of newly elected Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, Cavazos first filed a work comp claim with SCIF in March 2008, claiming he suffered a left shoulder injury that narrowed his mobility and range of motion while working at a packaging plant in Fowler, California.

A year later, Cavazos' treating physician determined that he had been fabricating his injuries regarding range of motion and reported his suspicions to SCIF. An investigation was launched shortly thereafter.

Investigators later videotaped Cavazos carrying items with no apparent limited range of motion over a three-day period.

The recording was later viewed by two of Cavazos treating physicians who expressed similar opinions that Cavazos had not told the truth regarding his level of pain/limited range of motion, and that he was deliberately choosing not to reveal the truth about his condition.

"Those who would seek to cheat a fund to help workers who were legitimately injured will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Insurance Commissioner Jones.

SCIF estimates that out of the $23,818 in total work comp benefits paid to Cavazos, at least $11,272 could be traced directly to his misrepresentation.

Cavazos was booked into the Fresno County Jail and his bail was set at $75,000.

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.

Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense ...

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

Related Resources:

Central Valley Man Arrested for Insurance Fraud and Grand Theft (Central Valley Business Times)

California Man Arrested for Insurance Fraud, Grand Theft (Claims Journal)

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