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CA Department of Insurance

Palmdale marijuana dispensary owners arrested for workers’ comp insurance fraud

News: 2015 Press Release

For Release: April 28, 2015
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Palmdale marijuana dispensary owners arrested for workers’ comp insurance fraud
Employee shot, beaten and left responsible for medical expenses

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Tiffany Shorter, 26, and Jabe Satterfield, 77, owners of the Green Cactus Collective Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Palmdale, were arrested on multiple felony counts of insurance fraud. The owners failed to carry workers' compensation benefits for their employees and allegedly told a security officer to lie about his employment status after he sustained severe injuries from two separate robberies at the dispensary, leaving him without benefits and responsible for expensive medical bills.

"This case serves as a reminder that workers' compensation fraud is a costly crime for employees who are left uncovered when their employers cheat the system," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "The costs of these crimes are passed on to consumers through higher rates and premiums and drain the state's economy of billions of dollars annually."

In November of 2013, the security officer was shot three times while suspects robbed the dispensary. Shorter and Satterfield allegedly told their employee to lie to hospital personnel by saying he was a volunteer and not an employee, which made him ineligible for workers' compensation insurance benefits. The employee, without workers' compensation benefits and in fear of losing his job, continued working.

In December of 2013, the dispensary was robbed again and the same employee, while still recovering from gunshot wounds from the prior attack, was beaten with a firearm and sustained further injuries. Again, the lack of coverage by his employers left him without medical benefits and liable for all medical expenses.

Shorter and Satterfield are facing up to four years in prison if convicted and were booked into the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Palmdale Station. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office is prosecuting this case. Shorter and Satterfield are due to appear in court on May 18, 2015 at the Criminal Courts Building, Department 30.

Media Notes:

The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 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 $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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