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Sanger farm worker arraigned for alleged disability benefits insurance fraud scheme

News: 2020 Press Release

For Release: September 21, 2020
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Email Inquiries: cdipress@insurance.ca.gov
Sanger farm worker arraigned for alleged disability benefits insurance fraud scheme

FRESNO, Calif. Eduardo Medina Ruelas, 46, of Sanger, was arraigned today on multiple counts of felony insurance fraud after allegedly defrauding his employer and RISICO Claims Management Co. to collect $38,000 in workers’ compensation insurance benefits and medical treatment he was not entitled to receive.

An investigation by the California Department of Insurance revealed that while working at Pitman Family Farms, Ruelas was injured when he was struck by a forklift on June 13, 2017. As a result of his injuries, Ruelas was placed on temporary disability and did not return to work. Ruelas continued with follow-up visits to the doctor, complaining of severe and widespread pain throughout his entire back and most of his body. When it was recommended that he return to work on light duty, Ruelas claimed to be unable to work due to the persistent and severe pain.

Surveillance was conducted while Ruelas was off work collecting disability benefits. Ruelas was caught on video visiting a casino, shopping, watering his lawn, and transferring a large piano keyboard from the trunk of his vehicle into another vehicle. The surveillance footage showed Ruelas participating in activities that contradicted his claims of injury and inability to work.

The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case. Ruelas will return to court on October 19, 2020.

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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 www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.

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