Sanger farm worker arraigned for alleged disability benefits insurance fraud scheme
News: 2020 Press Release
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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Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at www.insurance.ca.gov via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.