LODI (CBS SF) — A Lodi man was charged Monday with fraud after he was videotaped taking clients tandem skydiving while collecting workers’ compensation for an injury he claimed had caused him excruciating pain, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
Donald Ray Simmons Jr., 32, who once worked as a concrete cutter for a Santa Clara construction firm, allegedly defrauded an insurance company of about $52,000 in workers’ compensation benefits, Deputy District Attorney David Soares said.READ MORE: Fourth Stimulus Check: Should You Expect Another Relief Payment?
Simmons was arrested Monday and charged with felony making false or fraudulent material statements in order to claim workers’ compensation benefits and attempted perjury, Soares said.
He posted $20,000 bail and will be arraigned in Superior Court in San Jose on April 23, Soares said.
The defendant allegedly told the Arch Insurance company that an on-the-job injury he had while working for the construction firm in Santa Clara in December 2013 caused him pain that was so agonizing he could not use his left arm to drive, the district attorney’s office said.
But in March and April of last year, investigators for the company videotaped Simmons repeatedly boarding an airplane in full jumping gear, tandem parachuting with student jumpers strapped to his body, controlling the parachute when landing and gathering it up with his left arm with no apparent distress or difficulty, prosecutors said.READ MORE: Bay Area Startup Sets Sights On Developing 'Perpetually Flying Drone'
Soares said that tandem jumpers paid Simmons a fee as their instructor to parachute with them out of a location in Lodi in San Joaquin County where the insurance investigators videotaped him, paid Simmons.
Simmons filed his claim with Arch for his workers’ compensation payments in Santa Clara County, which is why he was charged in the county, Soares said.
Prosecutors decided to file the attempted perjury charge because Simmons made statements in a deposition about his injuries, but was not given the opportunity to read and sign the statement, he said.
If convicted, Simmons could face a maximum of five years and four months in prison and be ordered to pay full restitution to the insurance company, he said.
The workers’ compensation system was created to provide people who are injured while working an income and medical benefits until they are healthy enough to return to work, but those who are not truthful about how they suffered their injuries or the pain they feel may face felony fraud charges under state insurance codes, he said.MORE NEWS: Newsom Enlists California Highway Patrol To Help Stop Smash And Grab Robberies
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