Santa Paula couple arrested on allegations of workers comp fraud
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: February 13, 2013
A civilian employee with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department and her husband were arrested Thursday at their Santa Paula home on suspicion of workers compensation fraud and conspiracy, among other charges.
According to the announcement by District Attorney Gregory Totten, a felony complaint was filed against Keri Atwood, 28, and her husband, 36-year-old Michael Atwood. “Both defendants are charged with committing workers compensation fraud and conspiracy,” noted a DA Office statement, and “Keri Atwood is also charged with grand theft and burglary.”
The case, investigated by the Valencia office of the California Department of Insurance, resulted in allegations that Keri Atwood was not entitled to workers compensation she claimed after an on-the-job injury. A civilian employee of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Atwood reported to her supervisors that she sustained an injury to her left ankle, an injury that occurred when another employee accidentally hit the back of her foot with a mail cart.
Atwood was placed on Temporary Total Disability status and received over $29,000 in disability pay.
Although Keri Atwood used crutches or a wheelchair to get to her medical appointments, afterward “she was seen walking freely without the aid of crutches or a wheelchair.... She was also observed engaging in a number of physical activities that,” the DA’s statement noted, Atwood “had told her treating physicians she could not perform.”
Michael Atwood drove Keri Atwood to her doctors visits and allegedly “failed to disclose her true physical condition,” which resulted in charges also filed against him. Keri and Michael Atwood were arrested February 7 by investigators from the California Department of Insurance.
If convicted, Keri Atwood faces a maximum sentence of nine years and eight months in Ventura County Jail. Michael Atwood faces a maximum sentence of four years and four months in county jail.