California School Employee Arraigned for Workers’ Comp Fraud After Virus Diagnosis
Stephanie Medrano, 33, of West Covina, Calif., was arraigned on Tuesday on multiple counts of grand theft and insurance fraud after allegedly making misrepresentations following a COVID-19 diagnosis in an attempt to collect more than $33,000 in undeserved workers’ compensation insurance benefits.
The California Department of Insurance launched an investigation after receiving a claim of suspected fraud from Medrano’s employer, the Baldwin Park Unified School District, on Aug. 21, 2020. The investigation reportedly revealed Medrano made multiple misrepresentations in order to extend a workers’ comp claim submitted to her employer after she was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Medrano was reportedly exposed to the virus while in the workplace and subsequently filed a workers’ comp claim. She told her employer that she self-quarantined from July 6, 2020 to Aug. 3, 2020, and reported she only left her house twice to buy medicine for her mother and sister, who were also diagnosed with COVID-19. Medradno allegedly reported her symptoms related to the COVID-19 diagnosis were so severe she was unable to work.
The investigation reportedly found that during the time Medrano claimed she was self-quarantining, she was seen shopping at multiple stores for several hours a day and interacting with people from outside her immediate household without face masks. Further, investigators reportedly discovered that Medrano traveled to Lake Havasu with people who live outside her household just two days after she reported she was still experiencing symptoms to the doctor overseeing her claim.
The department’s investigation into Medrano’s false statements regarding her symptoms and need for extended self-quarantine reportedly prevented a potential loss of $33,516 to the school district.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case.