Beauty Queen Caught in Workers' Comp Fraud!

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Posted on Aug 19, 2014

Always keep in mind that when you're trying to 'beat' the system, it always comes back on you. CBS recently reported on a story about a 22-year-old was recently arrested on workers' compensation fraud in California. 

According to their reports, Shawna Palmer filed for workers' compensation in March of this year, citing a foot injury that left her unable to work and walk. It was said that she went to doctors and received an orthopedic shoe and crutches and was told not to return to work.

While Ms. Palmer was receiving her workers' compensation benefits, she had apparently participated in two beauty contests and was seen walking in high heels and showed no sign of discomfort (what beauty contestant doesn't smile?).  That led to an investigation into her workers comp claim. 

It was not hard to collect evidence against Ms. Palmer because she had been participating in a high profile contest, where footage from the  contests ended up on social media sites such as YouTube.

There was no doubt that Ms. Palmer was hurt on the job, but when she began to fabricate the severity of her injury-- lying to both her employer and doctors while still collecting benefits-- there was a problem. She could now face up to a year in prison, three years of probation and have to pay back the amount of benefits she had been receiving when she was caught in the beauty contests.

What Ms. Palmer did when she was lied about her injury while competing in these contests hurts every legitimate worker who has been hurt on the job.  But remember, for every high profile, widely reported case of fraud there are probably thousands of hard working Americans relying on workers comp benefits because they were legitimately hurt at work. 

Those cases - and the stories of insurance companies denying medical treatment or delaying benefits to workers who need them, never get reported, of course. 

For more on this developing story, go to

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer