Aug. 31, 2012
A mismatched birth date spotted during a review of a workers’ comp claim was enough to trip up a Thurston County woman, who pled guilty this week to first-degree theft and welfare fraud in Thurston County Superior court.
Back in April 2008, Sharon L. Stone used the social security number of an older relative to get a job at Rainier Vista, a senior care facility in Puyallup. Five days into her new job, Ms. Stone filed a claim for a work-related back injury.
Over the next few years, she received wage replacement and medical benefits to the tune of $60,000.
But when L&I case managers checked the social security number Ms. Stone used, the birth date associated with the number was for a woman almost 30 years older than Stone.
Investigators determined Ms. Stone had used her aunt’s social security number on her job application and her workers’ comp claim forms. In addition, she failed to disclose to Rainier Vista her true criminal history, which includes convictions for welfare fraud, possession of stolen property and drug violations.
Had she told the truth on her application, Ms. Stone would not have been eligible to work at Rainier Vista. That meant she was not entitled to the workers’ comp benefits she ultimately received.
On uncovering her fraud, L&I shared our information with the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), who had also provided benefits to Ms. Stone. Turns out, DSHS was unaware of several key facts affecting her eligibility — that she had been working, had received L&I benefits, and was married to a man who was gainfully employed.
As part of her plea agreement, Ms. Stone will serve 4 months on electronic home monitoring and has been ordered to repay all the benefits she received from both L&I and DSHS.