School District Employee Faces Charges of Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fraud, Grand Theft in COVID-19 case

The California Department of Insurance (DOI) announced in a bulletin today that Stephanie Medrano, 33, of West Covina, was arraigned on multiple charges of workers’ compensation insurance fraud and grand theft after making false statements about her condition. Following a workplace-related COVID-19 diagnosis, Medrano ultimately collected approximately $33,000 in workers’ compensation insurance benefits to which she was not entitled. Her employer, the Baldwin Park School District, became suspicious and an investigation was undertaken by the DOI. The investigation revealed a pattern of behavior including extensive shopping trips and exposure outside of the immediate household, and even a trip to Lake Havasu, all while the applicant was supposed to be self-quarantining, with symptoms. The case is being prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The presumptions and requirements brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have had a wide-ranging impact on workers’ compensation defense. If you have any questions about how to best respond to and defend against such claims, please contact one of our offices, and be sure to check out our webinar series.