On May 1st, 2018

Imperial County Woman Sentenced for Disability Insurance Fraud Worked for years while collecting disability benefits

EL CENTRO -  On April 26, 2018, Teresa Baker, 60, of Brawley (Imperial County) was sentenced Court to 30 days in jail, 60 days home detention, three years formal probation, and ordered to pay restitution of $124,029 after fraudulently collecting monthly disability benefits while working full-time at three different employers.

"Thanks to our hard-working detectives another fraudster has been brought to justice," said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "We will continue to work with our district attorney partners to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who try and game the system."

“There are far too many people in this state who are fraudulently collecting insurance benefits of all types,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona.  “Insurance detectives and investigators work case after case involving disability, auto, and home insurance just to name a few.  They have their work cut out for them and have demonstrated, year after year, they are beyond up to the task.  Criminals, take note.”

Baker claimed an injury to her back in October of 1998 after a fall while employed by Valley Independent Bank in El Centro. Due to the alleged injury, Baker claimed she was unable to work. The California Department of Insurance launched an investigation after receiving a referral from the Standard Insurance Company claiming that Baker had been working from May 2007 through October 2013 while collecting disability benefits.

The investigation revealed that Baker collected more than $100,000 in disability payments she was not entitled to. During this same time, Baker worked for the Brawley Public Scales, Sun Community Federal Credit Union, and the Brawley School District.

Baker was arrested on June 30, 2017 and subsequently pleaded guilty to one felony count of insurance fraud on January 4, 2018. This case was prosecuted by the Imperial County District Attorney's Office.

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