Investigators with the California Department of Insurance (CDI) Criminal Investigations Branch’s Fraud Division announced the arrest of a Sacramento resident last week on charges of insurance fraud and attempted perjury.
Benjamin L. Barnes, 35, surrendered and was booked into the Sacramento County Jail. Bail was set for $5,000. If convicted, Barnes could face up to five years in state prison and/or a maximum fine of $50,000.
On Nov. 11, 2000, Barnes reportedly experienced leg and back pain while working as a motor vehicle technician for the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). He filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits with the State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) on Dec. 2, 2000. Barnes reportedly told the claims adjuster and five doctors he was unable to sit, walk, stand, bend, or drive as usual. Barnes, who is also a minister at New Life Family Worship Center, was later allegedly videotaped performing all of those activities without limitations. He reportedly continues to claim he is unable to work.
According to investigators, Barnes also denied prior injuries of a similar nature to treating doctors and during a sworn deposition. The investigation revealed Barnes filed a workers’ compensation claim in 1993 with the same symptoms of back pain radiating down his leg. That claim was resolved when Barnes received an $8,000 settlement from SCIF for his alleged injuries.
DMV and SCIF have paid over $21,000 in medical payments and leave benefits for Barnes’ current claim.