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Parks and recreation worker exploits Lyme disease diagnosis for $364,000 through a fraudulent workers' compensation claim

News: 2014 Press Release

For Release: May 7, 2014
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Email Inquiries: cdipress@insurance.ca.gov
Parks and recreation worker exploits Lyme disease diagnosis for $364,000 through a fraudulent workers' compensation claim

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Susette Boggs, 52 of Palmdale, was arrested last month for alleged workers' compensation fraud. Boggs worked for the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation for over 10 years at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center in Newhall handling variety of animals, including owls, skunks, reptiles and opossums. Boggs reported that she had been bitten by a tick, contracted Lyme disease and as a result filed a workers' compensation claim with a date of injury of April 19, 2007.

"Exaggerating symptoms and deceiving physicians in hopes of a monetary workers' compensation windfall is not a smart retirement plan," said Commissioner Jones. "The detectives in my department are diligent in their investigations to uncover discrepancies and bring criminals to justice. My department is sending a clear message to discourage anyone considering the same path of deception. You will be caught and you will be held accountable."

Boggs claimed a multitude of symptoms prevented from working and made her daily life miserable. According to physicians' records, Boggs reported difficulty sitting for long periods due to pain, trouble holding items due to weakness in her hands as well as other symptoms.

The investigation into Boggs' workers' compensation claim revealed that she failed to be truthful and misrepresented her involvement in a band as a drummer/singer to her doctors. Video evidence showed Boggs maintaining a physically active lifestyle as a drummer/singer in a band since 2007, in direct conflict with symptoms she reported to her physicians about her physical capabilities.

The activities captured on video, and reviewed by her physicians, greatly impacted their opinion as to whether Boggs has 100 percent whole body impairment. Her physicians have since concluded that Boggs is capable of gainful employment. The reversal of the medical diagnosis impacts the workers' compensation benefits allowed to Boggs. One hundred percent permanent disability exposure was valued at $409,552. After review of the video evidence the final permanent disability value was lowered to 39 percent permanent disability or $44,620, for a total loss of $364,932.

If convicted Boggs faces a possible sentence of maximum seven years in prison and restitution of $364,932.

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Media Notes:

  • Booking photo available.
  • Potential sentencing, if convicted: maximum seven years
  • Date of arrest: April 17, 2014
  • Prosecuting authority: LA County District Attorney's Office
  • Three counts of 1871.4(a)(1) and three counts of PC550(b)(1)
  • Total loss amount $364,932

List of symptoms reported by Boggs:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Itchy skin
  • Joint pain
  • Depression
  • Shaky hands
  • Blurry vision and problems hearing
  • Intermittent dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Trouble with memory, focus and concentration
  • Stuttering and trouble finding words
  • Gets tired easily
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Weakness in her hands
  • Extreme light sensitivity
  • Aches and pain everywhere
  • Headaches for weeks or months

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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $289 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $394 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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