The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office announced charges against Maria Mendoza for allegedly faking workplace injuries and filing fraudulent workers’ compensation claims at four different workplaces.
Mendoza, 52, was charged with four counts of workers’ compensation fraud and two counts of auto insurance fraud. She was arrested on February 28. Attorney information wasn’t available.
According to the complaint, an investigation into Mendoza was launched after her insurance claims history revealed a pattern of short stints of employment followed by workers’ comp claims made against her employer.
The first workers’ comp fraud charge stems from her employment at Pronto Cleaning Services in 2014. Mendoza was reportedly terminated after only three months of work. She then hired a lawyer to file multiple workers’ compensation claims, alleging her employment resulted in cumulative trauma to her knees, hands, and wrists.
The second fraud charge relates to her employment at Architectural Glass & Aluminum Company in late 2014. She was purportedly terminated after two months and once again filed a workers’ compensation claim. She allegedly told the doctor who evaluated her that she has made no prior claims and wasn’t party to any civil litigation, which was false at the time.
The third charge relates to her employment at an Olive Garden restaurant in Pittsburgh in 2017. After five months of employment, several workers reported that Mendoza faked a slip and fall on her way to a disciplinary hearing. She once again hired an attorney to file a workers’ compensation insurance claim for injuries she allegedly sustained from the fall.
The final fraud charge relates to another slip and fall Mendoza experienced while employed at Claim Jumper Restaurant in 2018. After working at the restaurant for approximately one month, Mendoza saw a doctor to report a fall at work. The complaint claims she again lied to the doctor who evaluated her by saying she had never filed a workers’ comp claim before.
Mendoza is also charged with filing a fraudulent auto insurance claim for a car accident that allegedly occurred in April 2014. She filed a similar claim in 2018 for damage to the same vehicle she had claimed was totaled in the 2014 accident.
Workers’ compensation fraud hurts small business owners by causing massive rate increases that are ultimately passed on to honest employers. In its press release, the Conta Costra County DA’s office reminded workers that committing fraud by claiming a fake injury at work is a serious offense punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of up to $50,000.
By requiring businesses to have workers’ comp insurance, the state provides an incentive for employers to keep employees safe and reduce the risk of lawsuits against business owners. Business owners who don’t pay workers’ comp insurance or under-report employee payroll in order to pay lower premiums are equally as culpable as workers who file fraudulent claims.
Businesses or persons being investigated by the state for workers’ compensation fraud should immediately consult an experienced attorney to discuss their rights and the best course of action.
South Florida Workers’ Compensation Fraud Attorney
Are you a business owner accused of workers’ compensation fraud? Contact Brian Silber, P.A. for a free initial consultation with one of Miami’s most experienced workers’ compensation fraud defense attorneys.