Aurora Barrera, 33, of Downey was arrested on charges related to her allegedly submitting a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder associated with a robbery, she assisted in staging – at a bank where she worked as an assistant bank manager.
On the morning of Sept. 4, 2012, Barrera claimed she was held hostage by two men, forced to wear a bomb and told to drive to a Bank of America branch in East Los Angeles where she was employed.
Barrera claimed she was given instructions to remove money from the bank vault and place it outside the building, which she did. The robbery resulted in a response from local, state and federal law enforcement, including the bomb squad who determined the device strapped to Barrera was a fake bomb.
Two days after the robbery, Barrera submitted a workers’ comp claim for post-traumatic stress disorder. She began receiving medical treatment and collected roughly $2,453 a month in temporary total disability benefits. The total amount of benefits paid out to Barrera totaled $35,573. An additional $9,964 was incurred in medical and other insurance expenses.
Following an FBI investigation that determined that Barrera was a knowing participant in the bank robbery she was arrested and convicted for the bank robbery, along with her then boyfriend and two others.
Barrera was sentenced on Aug. 6 in Federal Court to nine years in federal prison. She was given until Sept. 8 to surrender.
Since Barrera’s workers’ comp claim was considered fraudulent a subsequent criminal investigation by the Department of Insurance in cooperation with the FBI resulted in charges of insurance fraud, burglary and grand theft. Barrera faces a maximum sentence of five years in state prison.
“It’s shocking to think that, Barrera, a trusted financial institution manager would be a co-conspirator in a bank robbery and staged kidnapping, and then have the audacity to file a bogus workers’ comp claim for traumatic stress and believe she could get away with it,” Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement.