Yurizan Cuevas, who worked full-time while claiming to be unable to attend work, pleaded guilty to felony theft, the Washington Department of Labor and Industries announced.
The chain of events started in November 2010 when Cuevas, 33, was working at a café in Seattle that was targeted by a robber. While running away from the robber, Cuevas collided with wall, causing an injury to her back. Cuevas’ health care providers confirmed that the Federal Way woman was unable to return to work as a result of her injuries. The decision meant that Cuevas was eligible to receive wage-replacement payments from Labor and Industries.
Cuevas, who then worked as a nanny for nearly two years while receiving her wage-replacement payments, was told to repay the $24,847 she received. Bruce Heller, King County Superior Court Judge, also sentenced Cuevas to 20 days jail, which was then converted to 160 hours of community service.
The Washington Attorney General's Office pursued the case against Cuevas based on an investigation by the Department of Labor and Industries; Cuevas eventually pleaded guilty to second-degree theft. Annette Taylor, deputy assistant director of the department's Fraud Prevention and Labor Standards office, said: "Workers' compensation is intended to help employees heal from on-the-job injuries so they can return to work. People like Ms. Cuevas who try to game the system are cheating their employers and fellow employees."