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Buttonwillow warehouse worker arraigned for alleged workers’ compensation insurance fraud

News: 2021 Press Release

For Release: February 3, 2021
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Email Inquiries: cdipress@insurance.ca.gov
Buttonwillow warehouse worker arraigned for alleged workers’ compensation insurance fraud

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Crescencio Velasco Covarrubias, 45, of Buttonwillow, was arraigned on multiple felony counts of insurance fraud after allegedly failing to disclose prior work-related injuries in order to collect undeserved workers' compensation benefits.

Covarrubias filed a workers' compensation claim for an injury he sustained on June 26, 2017, while employed at a retail warehouse center. Covarrubias alleged he injured his left ankle, foot, heel, and back when he misstepped while sweeping. As part of the claims process, Covarrubias was responsible for reporting any prior injuries, as they could have affected the outcome of the current claim.

An investigation conducted by the California Department of Insurance revealed on November 11, 2010, Covarrubias filed a workers' compensation claim, processed by a different insurance company, for a bilateral knee, neck, and back injury, along with left foot and ankle injuries. Those injuries were sustained when Covarrubias was driving a tractor shuttle loaded with almonds and was struck by another tractor shuttle. Covarrubias' injuries were treated by his primary treating physicians and he received a $90,000 settlement.

The investigation into the June 2017 injury claim found that Covarrubias not only failed to report the November 2010 injuries, but when specifically asked, he denied any prior injuries to his left foot, ankle or back. Covarrubias' fraudulent statements resulted in a loss to his employer’s insurance company of more than $87,000. If Covarrubias would have reported the injuries from November 2010, the insurance company would have conducted an investigation and likely denied or modified the current claim, thereby preventing Covarrubias from receiving benefits he was not entitled to.

Covarrubias self-surrendered and was arraigned on January 7, 2021. He is scheduled to return to court on March 15, 2021. The Kern 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 $340 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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