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Sheriff’s Employee and Spouse Arrested for Work Comp Fraud

Keri Atwood and her husband were both arrested for worker’s compensation fraud in Ventura County. Both husband and wife were arrested and released on bond earlier this week. Keri is said to be a civilian employee of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.

The Ventura County Star reported that Atwood had allegedly suffered a leg injury at work and had received disability payments of about $30,000 as a result of her being off work from the injury. Atwood was said to be getting medical treatment for her injuries and was using crutches or a wheelchair to get around to see her doctors.

Investigators apparently observed Atwood walking on her own power and performing various physical activities which she previously told her medical providers that she couldn’t do. Atwood’s husband does not appear to have been injured or actively participated in the alleged fraud.

In Fraud cases like this, if any aspect of the case is found to be fraudulent then the entire claim is deemed to be fraudulent. Insurance companies have a great incentive to find fraud in a workers compensation claim because that terminates their obligation to continue to pay on the claim. In fact, the insurance carrier becomes the victim in the criminal prosecution and often seeks restitution for the money that was already paid out on the disability claim.

Thus, not only is Atwood facing potential jail time and other sanctions, she is likely to be ordered to make restitution or pay back to the insurance company the nearly $30,000 she was paid for her alleged disability. Of course, this assumes she is convicted of a crime, and like all accused, she and her husband enjoy the presumption of innocence unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you have questions about this or any other criminal defense matter, call me: Jeffrey Vallens, (818) 783-5700 or (888) 764-4340 or email me at or visit my websites: or