Rosa Maria Barajas, 68, of Huntington Park, Calif. was arrested for allegedly receiving workers’ compensation benefits of her dead husband.
The arrest was made by California Department of Insurance detectives with assistance from the Huntington Park Police Department.
Barajas is charged with two felony counts of insurance fraud.
New York Life contacted the department of insurance in January to report that Barajas was continuing to collect on her dead husband’s workers’ comp settlement. Barajas had been receiving monthly payments of over $18,000 that would continue only while Jesus Barajas was alive, as ordered by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board in 2000. As part of the agreement Rosa Barajas was directed to notify New York Life in the event of the demise of her husband, something that according to the investigators she failed to do when Jesus died in May of 2010.
“Workers’ compensation fraud is a drain on California’s economy and can increase the cost of doing business, result in a decrease in employee salaries, and increase the cost of insurance for all Californians,” Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement.
Jesus suffered an industrial accident in 1997 when he fell from a scaffold while working for Aramark Uniform Services. As a result Jesus was comatose and declared legally brain dead. Due to his condition, Rosa was appointed his legal guardian in 1998 by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board and placed in charge of all his financial dealings and pending workers’ comp suit.
Bail has been set at $505,341. If convicted, Barajas faces up to five years in state prison and a fine in excess of $500,000.