Crime - Sacto 911

Landscaper sentenced for fraudulently claiming workers’ comp for soccer injury

A landscaper who claimed his leg was injured when it was hit by a lawn mower has pleaded no contest to felony workers’ compensation fraud after investigators determined that he sustained the injury playing soccer.

On June 5, 2012, Ernesto Rodriguez, 30, filed a workers’ compensation claim stating that on May 25, 2012, he was injured when a lawn mower hit his leg while working for a landscaping company. He was diagnosed with a spiral fracture of the tibia in his left leg, which required surgery to insert a nail into the bone to facilitate healing, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release.

An investigation by the District Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with investigators representing Athens Insurance Co., revealed that Rodriguez sustained the injury in a soccer game two days after the date he claimed he was injured at work.

Rodriguez applied for and received approximately $1,000 from the soccer league for the injury. Authorities said he lied to his doctor and to Athens Insurance Co. as to how, where and when his injury occurred.

Rodriguez was sentenced Monday by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman to 120 days in county jail and five years of formal probation. He also was ordered to repay all the costs incurred and associated with his claim, $35,404.34 payable to Athens Insurance Co.