SACRAMENTO - A Placer County woman, arrested on December 23, 2016, remains in custody at the Sacramento County jail following criminal charges in both Placer and Sacramento counties alleging she posed as a registered nurse and used someone else’s professional license in order to be hired at five health care facilities.
“Practicing medicine without a medical certificate is dangerous, illegal activity that puts those in need of health or medical care at risk,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “State investigators work to identify, investigate and aid in the prosecution of unscrupulous individuals who pose as licensed professionals.”
Lara Noelle Bennett, of Meadow Vista, does not have a license to work as a registered nurse in California. An investigation, conducted by the Investigation and Enforcement Unit Sacramento Field Office of the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation, revealed that in 2015, Bennett earned more than $15,000 from her alleged fraud. The licensee, whose name Bennett used to gain employment, was unaware that her identity had been stolen.
The investigation into Bennett’s alleged illegal activity began after an employer noticed inconsistencies in an application completed by Bennett. The employer contacted the Board of Registered Nursing, which confirmed that Bennett was not licensed.
The Placer County District Attorney’s Office filed eight counts against Bennett, including four felony charges of identity theft, two felony charges of grand theft from an employer and two misdemeanor charges of unlawful use of the title Registered Nurse.
The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office filed three felony counts of identity theft, three misdemeanor counts of practicing nursing without a license, two felony counts of grand theft and one misdemeanor count of theft.
Bennett was scheduled to appear in Sacramento County Superior Court on November 2, 2016, but failed to appear. Bennett also failed to appear in court in Placer County on October 21, 2016. Judges in each county issued bench warrants for her arrest and she was taken into custody on December 23, 2016. She is currently being held in Sacramento County and is ineligible for bail. Her next court appearance is scheduled for January 17, 2017.