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OFF BEAT: Broken toe leads to medical complaints, fraud conviction


A San Diego woman who was caught carrying heavy boxes around while claiming that she was wheelchair-bound reportedly was sentenced to a year in jail and ordered to pay restitution this month for workers compensation fraud and other charges.

Yolandi Kohrumel, 35, reportedly broke her toe in 2002 while working for office supply retailer Staples Inc., according to KSWB-TV in San Diego. Ms. Kohrumel reportedly had surgery for her toe, but claimed she was unable to use crutches that were provided for her after the procedure.

Ms. Kohrumel was provided a manual wheelchair, and later was provided an electric wheelchair after she claimed the previous one gave her carpal tunnel syndrome, according to reports. She claimed to suffer numerous health conditions, including depression and hypersenstitive feet, that kept her in the chair for nine years.

Ms. Kohrumel's 65-year-old father, Anton Buitendag, also participated in the scheme, claiming to provide Ms. Kohrumel with around-the-clock health care, according to reports. He sought payments of $324,000 from third-party administrator Esis Inc. and insurer American International Group Inc. for his services.

The father-daughter duo's scheme was uncovered when movers saw Ms. Kohrumel get out of her chair and lift heavy boxes while moving into a bigger house that she had requested from AIG, reports say. She had asked for the larger space to accommodate her wheelchair.

During an investigation last month, authorities found more than 20 boxes of unused prescriptions that were provided to Ms. Kohrumel for her reported injuries and physical condition related to her 2002 work injury, reports say.

Ms. Kohrumel pleaded guilty to insurance fraud, while Mr. Buitendag pleaded guilty to attempted grand theft, reports say. The pair was ordered during their sentencing to repay $1.6 million to Esis.