Baldwin Park Woman Faces Fraud Charge for Exaggerating COVID-19 Symptoms

The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth has previously blogged about the dangers of faking work injuries.  A recent local news story is confirming just how problematic exaggerating a condition can be when one is receiving workers’ compensation benefits.  A family services facilitator and coordinator for Head Start at Baldwin Park Unified School District faces two felony charges of insurance fraud and a felony charge of grand theft after allegedly exaggerating COVID-19 symptoms after being infected with the coronavirus at work.  The employee, Stephanie Medrano, 33, of West Covina, has pleaded not guilty.

According to news reports, Medrano told her employer that her COVID-19 symptoms were severe enough to require almost a full month of self-quarantine, reporting that she only left her quarantine twice to buy medicine.  However, Medrano was not adhering to quarantine, apparently being spotted shopping for several hours a day and vacationing in Lake Havasu two days after telling her workers’ compensation doctor that she was experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.  Investigators for the Department of Insurance found that she was also interacting with people outside of her household without a mask.

The Baldwin Park Unified School District submitted a suspected workers’ compensation fraud claim to the Department of Insurance a little over two weeks after Medrano returned to work.  The Department of Insurance estimates that fraud, if not pursued, would have been resulted in more than $33,000 in workers’ compensation benefits.  Penalties for workers’ compensation fraud include fines up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, up to five years in prison, or both.

See the full news story here.

The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth helps injured workers seek workers’ compensation benefits.  We encourage all injured workers to be truthful and honest about their injuries with their doctors and to return to work when they are able.  If you have suffered a work injury, our team of attorneys is ready to help you on the road to physical and financial recovery.  Call our law offices today at 888-517-9888 to receive a free consultation.

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