Published By Daily Democrat
A Woodland man was found guilty of workers’ compensation insurance fraud by a Yolo County Jury on Tuesday.
Stephen Eugene Harder, 45, was found guilty after he tried to claim benefits and was caught, the District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
Harder faces a maximum of eight years imprisonment, and a fine of $150,000.
On Feb. 26, 2009, the District Attorney’s Insurance Fraud Unit received a complaint from the State Compensation Insurance Fund alleging that Harder was attempting to exaggerate his industrial injury and claiming that it was more severe than it actually was.
According to Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Cabral, during the course of the investigation Harder was observed acting, moving and appearing in a manner that was inconsistent with his claimed injuries.
“The defendant was videotaped engaging in gold mining activity which sharply contrasted with how he was presenting to the doctors that were treating him,” Cabral said.
District Attorney Jeff Reisig said that “The cost of labor in California is directly impacted by workers’ compensation insurance premiums. Those premiums are affected when workers’ embellish their symptoms and attempt to get more benefits than they are otherwise entitled to receive.”
Reisig credited the efforts of Deputy District Attorney Carolyn Palumbo, Lt. Dan Stroski, the District Attorney’s Insurance Fraud Unit and the State Compensation Insurance Fund for getting the conviction.
County Superior Court Judge Steven Mock is scheduled to sentence Harder on March 23.