A San Leandro woman has pleaded guilty to forging doctors’ signatures in order to receive more than $10,000 in workers’ compensation, state insurance officials announced Friday.
Marlene Cavalcanti, 40, pleaded guilty on July 24 to two felony counts of insurance fraud and identity theft for falsifying records when filing a workers’ compensation claim to receive $10,590. The company she worked for when she filed the fraudulent documents is located in Marin County, according to state insurance officials.
Cavalcanti initially filed for workers’ compensation after she reportedly fell at work, where she was an executive assistant, and sustained unspecified injuries, state officials said. She received medical treatment and was paid more than $42,000 in temporary disability payments, officials said.
After she was placed on disability, officials said, investigators with the state Department of Insurance learned Cavalcanti stopped receiving medial treatment and started working for another company.
“During this time, she submitted multiple fictitious doctors reports in an attempt to continue to receive disability payments from the workers’ compensation insurance company,” state insurance officials said. “When confronted by detectives, Cavalcanti ultimately admitted to the fraudulent documents and forged doctors’ signatures.”
Over the course of the department’s investigation, officials said detectives learned she tried to file a new workers’ compensation claim at another insurance company through her new employer. Officials said the claim dates and alleged injures were “similar and overlapped” with her previous claim.
The insurance investigation “prevented payment on this subsequent fraudulent claim and the insurance company incurred no loss,” state insurance officials said.
She is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 9.
California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said state insurance officials partnered with the Marin County district attorney’s office, and their ongoing relationship will “ensure that Californians are protected from those who cheat the system.”
“Every dollar paid on a fraudulent insurance claim increases the cost to California consumers who are forced to pay higher premiums to make up for the loss to insurers,” Lara said.
Marin County Deputy District Attorney Sean Kensinger said the district attorney’s office will continue to “investigate and prosecute workers’ compensation fraud in every form.”
“Whether it is claimant fraud as in the case of Ms. Cavalcanti, which drive up premiums for employers, or businesses who seek to gain an unfair advantage by underinsuring their employees, workers’ compensation fraud remains a priority for our office,” Kensinger said.
Lauren Hernández is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ByLHernandez