On September 5, 2013, investigators with the California Department of Insurance (DOI) arrested Rosa Maria Barajas, 68, of Huntington Park, for allegedly receiving workers' compensation benefits of her deceased husband who died more than three years ago. Barajas is charged with two felony counts of insurance fraud.
New York Life contacted the California Department of Insurance in January 2013 to report that Barajas was collecting on her deceased husband's workers' compensation settlement. Barajas had been receiving monthly payments of more than $18,000 that would continue only while Jesus Barajas was alive, as ordered by the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board in September of 2000. As part of the agreement Barajas was directed to notify New York Life when her husband died. According to investigators, Jesus Barajas died in May 2010 and his wife, Rosa, not only failed to report his death to New York Life but continued to cash his checks, to the tune of more than a half million dollars.
Jesus Barajas suffered an industrial accident in October of 1997 when he fell from a scaffold while working for Aramark Uniform Services. As a result of his accident and serious injuries, Jesus was comatose and declared legally brain dead. Due to his condition, Rosa was appointed his legal guardian in April of 1998 by the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board and placed in charge of all his financial dealings and pending workers' compensation suit.
"This is a blatant case of workers' comp fraud and businesses, employees and California's economy all pay the price," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) CSLEA represents DOI investigators along with nearly 7,000 other law enforcement, public safety and consumer protection professionals who work for the state of California.
Huntington Park police officers assisted DOI investigators with Barajas' arrest. Her bail is set at $505,341. If convicted, Barajas faces up to five years in state prison and a fine in excess of $500,000.