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A baker and a service technician in Washington state have been charged in separate workers compensation scams for stealing thousands of dollars in disability benefits, the state Department of Labor & Industries said Tuesday.
Yurizan Cuevas and Kyle Valle, each facing one count of felony first-degree theft, are slated to appear in King County Superior Court on Wednesday, the department said in a statement.
Ms. Cuevas, who worked as a baker and cashier in a Seattle cafe, injured her back while running from a robber in November 2010, leading her to file a claim for workers comp benefits, the statement says.
However, a Labor & Industries investigation revealed that Ms. Cuevas was simultaneously earning about $3,200 a month working full time as a nanny since September 2011. She also worked as a house cleaner for six weeks in 2011, according to charging papers.
Ms. Cuevas is accused of stealing more than $24,800 in wage-replacement benefits from the department.
Meanwhile, Mr. Valle, a service technician for a waterproofing company in Kirkland, Washington, sustained injures when he hit his head on a support joist in May 2014, the statement says. Stating that he was unable to work as a result of his occupational injuries, Mr. Valle filed a workers comp claim.
But Labor & Industries found that Mr. Valle worked as a tow truck driver for a used-car dealership in Seattle from September 2014 to June 2015. He's charged with stealing nearly $10,500 in wage-replacement benefits and nearly $2,100 in vocational services.
“Claiming you're unable to work and accepting workers comp checks while working another job cheats legitimately injured employees and their employers,” Elizabeth Smith, assistant director of the department's fraud prevention and labor standards division, said in the statement. “We aggressively investigate and pursue scammers so we can protect the system that helps workers heal and return to work.”
The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries is the state's monopoly workers comp insurer.
An Ohio woman has been ordered to pay nearly $94,000 in restitution for working while collecting workers compensation benefits, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation said Friday.