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Faking name in workers comp scam leads to jail time

Faking name in workers comp scam leads to jail time

A drywall worker who admitted stealing $114,752 in workers compensation benefits using a fake identity must repay the cash and medical benefits he bilked and serve 60 days in jail, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries announced Thursday. 

Pablo Francisco Castillo Murguia, 40, of Auburn, Washington, fell from walking stilts as he taped drywall at a Seattle job site in 2012, injuring his right knee. He filed a workplace injury claim, calling himself Juan Pedro Castillo, according to a press release. 

Treating physicians confirmed that his injury prevented him from working, allowing him to receive cash payments to make up for part of his lost wages. In addition, Mr. Castillo Murguia repeatedly stated on official forms that he couldn't work, and wasn't working, due to the on-the-job injury.

Meanwhile, an investigation by the Department of Labor & Industries revealed that in addition to using a fake name in the claim, he was working while receiving workers compensation benefits, according to a Labor & Industries press release. He injured himself on a second job in 2012 — days after settling his first claim — and attempted to collect workers comp again. 

The Department of Labor & Industries says it received a tip from a Spanish-language interpreter who had interpreted for Mr. Castillo Murguia on his first claim. When he asked her to interpret on his second claim, she learned he was using a different name, the department says. It also used a facial-recognition system to determine that Mr. Castillo Murguia had fraudulently obtained two state-issued identification cards and a driver’s license under fake names.

Mr. Castillo Murguia was sentenced in Thurston County Superior Court on Wednesday for felony first-degree theft stemming from five year’s worth of benefits he collected, according to the Department of Labor & Industries.


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