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Probation officer accused of false workers' compensation claims

Recently, a probation officer with Los Angeles County was arrested and charged with allegedly filing false workers' compensation claims over the past three years. The probation officer faces 27 felony counts of forging departmental and medical documents, including signatures, to support the workers' compensation claims that she made. The probation officer was placed on unpaid administrative leave following her arrest, and she remains in police custody. She allegedly made the claims so that she could receive money from California's state insurance program in addition to her regular pay.

There had previously been concerns about fraud in the probation department, and a top official with the Los Angeles County probation department stated that several other similar cases were being investigated. Officials with the probation officer's union had previously expressed alarm that workers' compensation cases with the county were not being adequately investigated, and they stated that the woman's arrest in this case should serve as a reminder to the county to improve its investigative processes.

A person is entitled to file a workers' compensation claim under California law when he or she has been injured on the job or has contracted a work-related illness. He or she may file a workers' compensation claim for injuries such as repetitive stress injuries or those stemming from construction accidents. He or she may also file claims for illnesses from exposure to toxic substances such as asbestos, benzene or for work-related illnesses such as mesothelioma.

Anyone injured on the job is entitled to a monetary remedy in the form of workers' compensation. An injured employee may recover temporary or permanent disability benefits, as well as medical treatment benefits. If he or she suffers a fatal injury while on the job, then his or her family may recover death benefits. An injured employee is entitled to a just and fair compensation under the worker's compensation program in cases where there is a legitimate work-related injury.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Los Angeles County Probation Officer Accused of Workers' Comp. Fraud," Jason Song & Richard Winton, Sept. 4, 2012

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