SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – September 26, 2014 – Richard Quiroga, a maintenance employee for Santa Barbara Community College District pleaded guilty to one count of felony workers’ compensation fraud and one count of unemployment fraud in the Santa Barbara County Superior Court. While in court, Quiroga presented a cashier’s check to the District Attorney for restitution of $9,584.90 for unemployment benefits and $12,500.00 for workers’ compensation benefits paid by the school district.
While on disability for a back injury, Quiroga collected unemployment benefits and temporary total disability for workers’ compensation. Quiroga underwent surgery on July 17, 2012 and was released to light duty on September 9, 2012 with very limiting work restrictions. The employer was not able to accommodate the restrictions and did not return to modified duty. In November 2012 the treating doctor documented the employee was again temporarily totally disabled and would be released to full duty January 1, 2013. However, during the disability period Keenan, the district’s workers’ compensation claims administrator, was advised by the district that Quiroga was using his employer-issued credit card. The claims examiner assigned Regency, Keenan’s investigation agency, to conduct surveillance. During the investigation it was found that Quiroga was working his side business while receiving workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits.
Keenan’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) submitted the results of their investigation to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office, leading to filing of the fraud charges against Quiroga and his conviction.
The court ordered Quiroga to pay restitution to Santa Barbara Community College District through Keenan to the Protected Insurance Program for Schools (PIPS), the workers’ compensation program for the district. Quiroga was also sentenced to three years of felony probation.
The docket number for this case is: 1430894
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