Former Washington Resident Owes State $209,000

January 25, 2002

Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) ordered a former Yakima resident to pay back more than $209,000 for allegedly collecting workers’ compensation benefits illegally.

Jesus Nunez Vargas, a current resident of Mexico, was ordered to repay $139,625 in benefits collected fraudulently from July 1990 through September 1999. State law allows for an additional 50 percent penalty, for a total of $209,437.

Vargas, 60, was injured in 1988 while working as a meat cutter for Washington Beef Inc, in Toppenish. Shortly thereafter, he began receiving workers’ comp benefits.

Investigators discovered that Vargas had been working in orchards under a fake name, Jesus Nunez, all the while receiving benefits from the state.The investigation further revealed that Vargas had been working in orchards for several different employers under an assumed name, Jesus Nunez, while he was receiving workers’ comp disability benefits from the department.

Vargas submitted documentation to the department stating that he was not working and was eligible for disability benefits.

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