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CA Department of Insurance

Beauty contestant busted through social media for workers' comp fraud

News: 2014 Press Release

For Release: August 12, 2014
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Beauty contestant busted through social media for workers' comp fraud

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Shawna Lynn Palmer, 22, of Riverside was arrested on Friday for workers' compensation fraud after video evidence showed her participating in the 2014 Miss Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix beauty contest.

"Fraudulently collecting workers' compensation benefits by lying about the severity of an injury is illegal, and insulting to legitimately injured Californians," said Commissioner Dave Jones. "This suspect made the job of our departments' detectives easier by openly participating in high profile events."

Palmer worked as a clerk at Stater Brothers and on March 10, 2014 reported to her employer that she fractured a toe on her left foot at work. During multiple doctor visits Palmer claimed that she could not place any weight on her foot, could not move it in any direction, or wear a shoe for any length of time. Palmers' doctor provided an ortho shoe, crutches, and gave her orders to refrain from working and to elevate her foot whenever possible. Palmer stated that she was not able to work due to her foot injury and continued to collect workers' compensation benefits.

While collecting workers' comp benefits, Palmer participated in at least two beauty contests wearing high heels and walking without any signs of discomfort. Video was posted on YouTube of Palmer as a contestant in the 2014 Miss Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix beauty contest.

Palmer, if convicted, faces up to one year in county jail, three years of probation, and restitution of $24,000.

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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2013 the California Department of Insurance received more than 170,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $63 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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