Fugitive fraud suspect found in Mexico

Leonard is a Times staff writer

A former Los Angeles County probation department clerk who fled the country earlier this year after she was charged with bigamy and insurance fraud was captured in Mexico over the weekend, authorities said Monday.

Damaris Ninet Amesquita, 30, was found Saturday by a bail bonds agent in Mexicali, said Los Angeles County district attorney’s spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons. Amesquita’s two daughters, 9 and 11, and a 2-year-old boy she had falsely claimed was her biological son were found unharmed, Gibbons said.

Amesquita is accused of fraudulently collecting death benefits of more than $120,000 for her husband and falsely obtaining health benefits for the 2-year-old boy by claiming him as her son, she said.


Prosecutors allege that she submitted a false death certificate from Guatemala claiming that her first husband had been killed there in a hit-and-run accident, Gibbons said. In fact, her husband, Rosward Barrios, is alive and resides in that country, she said.

Gibbons said she expects Amesquita to be extradited to the United States in the next week or so. Among the charges she faces are kidnapping, perjury, grand theft and insurance fraud.