BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) – On Wednesday the Kern County District Attorney announced that seven people had been charged in connection with an insurance fraud conspiracy at a Bakersfield vocational school. The case involved the theft of over $ 100,000 in benefits intended to help injured workers.
The seven people were owners and employees of the Instituto Hispano Americano (“IHA”) on Chester Avenue and employees of two local law firms. The defendants have been identified as: Anna Ayala-Reyes, Sylvia Carrillo, Evelyn Cruz, Martin Cruz, Nelfido Rolando Cruz, Cynthia Ozaeta, Sandra Paredez.
The prosecutor’s office said those who sent false or misleading coupons for additional work displacement benefits to insurance companies, alleging injured workers were entitled to up to $ 6,000. The vouchers are intended “to make the injured employee more competitive in the labor market, because otherwise he or she cannot return to his previous employer because of a complete or temporary disability”.
The law firm’s employees would send injured workers to school to bring claims for $ 600 per worker.
“Like many types of programs that benefit the general public, labor compensation laws can only help the people who need them most if they are protected from fraud and other money-misappropriating programs,” said prosecutor Cynthia Zimmer , it will be investigated and prosecuted to bring perpetrators to justice and to ensure that benefits continue to be available to those who are genuinely qualified to receive them. “
Those involved face 85 counts, including conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, withholding facts that affect insurance benefits, and offering or receiving money in exchange for referrals.