Our California Statewide Law Enforcement Association(CSLEA) members who are investigators with CalPERS were in a Sacramento courtroom today to witness a judge sentence a former state worker in a pension abuse case that dates back to 2008.
Lisa Trevino-Angelo, 41, a former part-time personnel specialist at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) was sentenced to 40 days home medical detention and three years unsupervised probation following a conviction for fraud and lying to investigators in order to receive state disability retirement.
"A state worker who abuses CalPERS retirement gives all state workers and everyone who has a CalPers retirement a bad name," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "I am so proud of our investigators for exposing this case and any others and for doing their investigative work so well, it's air tight."
Trevino-Angelo submitted for state disability retirement, a tax free benefit, back in 2008. She claimed, "It is impossible to sit comfortably, write, key, use my hands, lift, squat, bend, stand, reach, walk, kneel, complete tasks, concentrate or hold a mouse, hold a pen, or hold a phone in the crook of my neck or hand for even a small period of time without pain."
Investigators submitted more than four hours of videotape in which Trevino-Angelo was seen bowling, shopping, cheering at a sporting event and lifting a toddler. She was arrested in 2009 and convicted of two misdemeanor charges on October 31st, 2012. She faced up to two years in jail.
An attorney for Trevino-Angelo asked for home medical detention should the judge sentence Trevino-Angelo to "time." He went on to say Trevino-Angelo respects the jury's decision but feels the system does not understand her medical condition.
Trevino-Angelo has 60 days to apply for and set up the home medical detention and was also ordered to pay hundreds of dollars in fines and penalties.
"This is a case of state workers not tolerating a state worker or anyone with a CalPERS retirement to abuse the system," said Barcelona. "If you don't think our investigators are serious, one of them left the courtroom today saying, 'on to the next one.' Their job is to validate the true injuries and illnesses and to bring to justice those who are just making it up to make a free buck. This was a job well done."
"These kinds of abuses not only damage the legitimate claims for an injury retirement with the State of California, but damage the reputation of all state employees who work hard and provide a safe California," said Paul San Gregorio, president of the California Association of Fraud Investigators, a CSLEA affiliate. "These actions will not be tolerated and our investigators with CalPERS will actively seek prosecution to protect the sovereignty of the CalPERS system and all legitimate injury claims."