California Truck Driver Admits Workers’ Compensation Fraud
Ventura, California – A California semi-truck driver has pled guilty to making a false statement of a material fact for the purpose of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits.
District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced on Wednesday that 47-year-old Jaime Serna, formerly of Fillmore, admitted to a felony violation of the Insurance Code by making a fraudulent claim.
Serna was employed by Agromin in Santa Paula as a truck driver and injured his right shoulder on May 12, 2010, according to a release from Ventura County officials.
He was placed off work on temporary total disability.
He had shoulder surgery on September 10, 2010.
He remained off work and continued to collect temporary total disability benefits of two-thirds of his salary, tax free, prosecutors said.
On February 12, 2012, Agromin received a tip that Serna may not be as hurt as he wanted his employer and the government to believe.
He was seen working on cars and engaging in physical activities, according to officials.
Agromin notified their workers’ compensation insurance administrator, who subsequently retained private investigators to conduct surveillance of Serna.
Investigators captured seven and a half hours of surveillance video of Serna working on cars in the garage of his residence.
Video shows Serna removing a radiator from the engine compartment, removing and replacing batteries and the wheels and tires of the vehicle.
Also according to surveillance video, Serna picked up a 36-pound floor jack with his right arm and carried it into his garage.
On July 12, 2012, Serna gave a deposition and lied under oath about his injuries saying he could not do anything at home.
He claimed the heaviest thing he could carry was one gallon of milk.
He denied working on cars and said he was not even able to change the spark plugs on his vehicle.
Serna will be sentenced on July 16, 2019, at 9:00 a.m.
He faces a maximum of five years in jail.