Sacramento Resident Stung with Workers Comp Fraud Conviction

A Yolo County, California jury has convicted a West Sacramento resident and 25-year employee of The Sacramento Bee of workers compensation insurance fraud.

According to the Yolo County District Attorney's Office, Linda Vela, 58, was convicted of seven counts of workers comp fraud, three counts of presenting false statements concerning payment on an insurance policy and two counts of attempted perjury in connection with disability claims made over a two-year period. [WCx]

Vela, who was employed as a member of The Bee's finance department, left her position on disability and was diagnosed with bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome.
Vela, who had surgery on her right wrist, complained that she was still in pain after the surgery and that she could not go back to work despite the surgeon's recommendation that she return to work. Due to Vela's complaints of pain and her reported inability to use her hands, her physician kept her off work as "totally disabled."
As a result, Vela obtained workers comp benefits from The McClatchy Co., parent company of The Sacramento Bee, along with payment through Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.
Not long after starting to receive payments, Vela was nabbed on video doing many of the things that she told doctors she could not do.
An orthopedic surgeon who watched the surveillance video testified that Vela could go back to work with the restriction that she "avoids power gripping and torqueing." [WCx]
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact:
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
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