Redding forestry technician arraigned for alleged workers’ comp fraud scheme
News: 2020 Press Release
REDDING, Calif. -- Lance Steven Pasalich, 23, was arraigned yesterday on multiple felony counts of insurance fraud and grand theft after allegedly defrauding his insurer to receive over $8,600 in disability payments he was not entitled to receive. The alleged scheme could potentially have cost the insurer over $55,000 in claim expenses.
An investigation by the California Department of Insurance revealed Pasalich submitted a workers' compensation claim for a slip-injury he sustained while working for a land management company in Shasta County. Pasalich was working as a seasonal forestry technician responsible for conducting large surveys to prevent wildfires.
Following the injury to Pasalich's knee, his employer's workers' compensation insurer provided him with temporary total disability benefits and treatment to help him return to his job. The insurer instructed Pasalich, multiple times, that he was required to report any additional work or income he earned while receiving disability benefits. Temporary total disability benefits are intended to aid recovering injured workers who need additional time to recover or receive a permanent disability rating.
Investigators followed Pasalich and observed that he secretly resumed working as a forestry technician, but for a different company. Pasalich repeatedly neglected to disclose his resumption of forestry work. By secretly working while receiving disability payments, Pasalich was able to simultaneously receive disability benefits and work income.
The Shasta County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case.
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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $371 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.