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California city councilwoman to lose seat following work comp fraud charges

When it comes to employee fraud, no one industry is more immune to deceptive behavior than another. A worker in an office setting is just as likely to file a potentially fraudulent work comp claim as a worker on a factory floor. In fact, employees in relatively prestigious or high-ranking positions can also commit work comp fraud.

Consider a recent case out of San Mateo County, where a councilwoman on the Daly City Council was facing multiple felony charges related to workers' compensation fraud.

According to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office, Maggie Gomez, 56, filed a claim for work comp benefits back in August 2005 while working for a medical center.

Gomez claimed that the serious work injury prevented her from standing/walking for lengthy periods or performing other essential job tasks.

However, investigators - acting on a tip - later recorded Gomez taking long shopping trips on foot and working out at a local gym.

Gomez, who was reelected to her position on the Daly City Council last November, was subsequently charged with 15 felony charges.

Just last week, she pleaded no contest to two felony counts of workers compensation fraud as part of a plea bargain. She is currently free on $100,000 bail and faces up to six months in jail at the time of her May sentencing.

Interestingly, California law dictates that all elected officials must be removed from office upon being convicted of a felony.

However, the city attorney for Daly, Rose Zimmerman, indicated that she did not yet know whether that meant Gomez had to be removed immediately or after she has been sentenced.

A date for a special election to replace Gomez on the city council must be set within 30 days of her seat's official vacancy.

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.

Related Resources:

Daly City councilwoman cops plea on fraud charges, must step down (The Oakland Tribune)

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