On September 22nd, 2020

Sanger Farm Worker Arraigned for Alleged Disability Benefits Insurance Fraud A CDI Investigation

FRESNO – On September 21, 2020, Eduardo Medina Ruelas, 46, of Sanger, was arraigned on multiple counts of felony insurance fraud after allegedly defrauding his employer and RISICO Claims Management Co. to collect $38,000 in workers’ compensation insurance benefits and medical treatment he was not entitled to receive.

An investigation by the California Department of Insurance revealed that while working at Pitman Family Farms, Ruelas was injured when he was struck by a forklift on June 13, 2017. As a result of his injuries, Ruelas was placed on temporary disability and did not return to work. Ruelas continued with follow-up visits to the doctor, complaining of severe and widespread pain throughout his entire back and most of his body. When it was recommended that he return to work on light duty, Ruelas claimed to be unable to work due to the persistent and severe pain.

Surveillance was conducted while Ruelas was off work collecting disability benefits. According to the California Department of Insurance, Ruelas was caught on video visiting a casino, shopping, watering his lawn, and transferring a large piano keyboard from the trunk of his vehicle into another vehicle. The surveillance footage showed Ruelas participating in activities that contradicted his claims of injury and inability to work.

“Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime and we and businesses all end up paying more in premiums because of it,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona.   “Insurance fraud is very prevalent in California and across the country which is why it is necessary to have department investigators and detectives.”

The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case. Ruelas is scheduled to  return to court on October 19, 2020.

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