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Spike heels get workers' comp recipient in trouble

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Workers' comp recipient is arrested after online video showed her walking in high heels
Grocery clerk claimed foot injury but appeared in online video wearing high heels, officials say

The spike heels gave her away.

State insurance investigators last week busted Shawna Lynn Palmer, 22, of Riverside on suspicion of workers' compensation insurance fraud after they saw her wearing stiletto shoes in a video of a recent Long Beach Grand Prix beauty contest.

At the time, Palmer, a supermarket clerk, was receiving medical care and benefits for a March 10 workplace injury claim she reported to supervisors.

The state Department of Insurance gave this account: Palmer reported that she fractured a toe on her left foot and could not put weight on her foot, move it or even wear a shoe.

Palmer could not be reached for comment. She was arrested Friday and released on bail. She is scheduled to enter a plea at an Oct. 3 hearing in Riverside County Superior Court. Palmer could receive a sentence of one year in county jail and be required to pay up to $24,000 in restitution if convicted, according to the Department of Insurance.

Doctors gave Palmer a special orthopedic shoe and crutches. They directed her to stay off work until March 19. Weeks later, she continued to complain of pain during follow-up medical visits.

In the meantime, investigators said, Palmer participated in beauty contests on March 14, March 19 and March 27.

Later, California Department of Insurance officers, working on a tip from an insurer, made a routine check of social media. They said they quickly discovered videos of Palmer wearing high heels and walking without any signs of discomfort while she was receiving medical treatment and other workers' compensation assistance.

"Fraudulently collecting workers' compensation benefits by lying about the severity of an injury is illegal and insulting to legitimately injured Californians," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "This suspect made the job of our departments' detectives easier by openly participating in high-profile events."

marc.lifsher@latimes.com

Twitter: @MarcLifsher

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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