A Seattle, Wash. woman accused of forging signatures and stealing money by billing the state for appointments, some related to workers’ compensation services, that never happened pleaded guilty Wednesday.
Carla C. Moreno also repaid the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries $43,296 in full for overbilling the department for interpreter services in the Tri-Cities.
Moreno pleaded guilty to third-degree theft, a gross misdemeanor, in Franklin County Superior Court. Repaying L&I was part of her sentence.
Moreno was sentenced to serve more than 30 days in confinement, including 10 days in jail and 20 days through electronic home monitoring. She also must serve probation for two years; she must break no laws during that time or could face additional criminal penalties in connection with this case.
Moreno, 33, is also known as Carla Cynthia Montes De Oca Moreno and Carla Moreno Montgomery.
Moreno committed the reported theft while operating The Language Spot and Language Spot, both based in Pasco, from 2009 to 2017.
The Washington State Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case based on a two-and-a-half-year investigation by its office and L&I.
Moreno, a sole proprietor, reportedly hired independent contractors to interpret at medical and physical therapy appointments for Spanish-speaking workers who had workplace injury claims with L&I.
Investigators found she used a variety of methods to overbill L&I for the services, including billing for non-existent appointments, double-billing for actual appointments, using names and provider numbers of interpreters who worked for her in the past, and submitting billing forms with forged signatures of health care providers and certified interpreters.
In other cases, investigators found Moreno submitted 60 billing forms with the name and provider number of a certified interpreter who no longer worked for her. The certified interpreter and five other individuals told L&I they were unaware Moreno had been using their names and provider numbers to bill for services.
Moreno stopped billing L&I in the fall of 2017 while the investigation was ongoing. She no longer provides interpreter services for L&I.
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