News: 2010 Press Release
For Release: June 9, 2010
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Commissioner Poizner Announces Arrest of Solano County Deputy Sheriff for Alleged Workers' Compensation Insurance Fraud
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced today the arrest of a Solano County deputy sheriff for alleged workers' compensation insurance fraud. Michael Oster, 48, of Elk Grove, was arrested this morning and booked into the Sacramento County Jail on $10,000 bail. He was charged with concealing an event affecting an insurance benefit [Insurance Code Section 550(b)(3)], a felony. If convicted, the suspect faces between one and five years in prison and/or $20,000 to $150,000 in fines.
"Workers' compensation insurance is designed to protect workers who are legitimately disabled while on the job, and taking advantage of this system is wrong and illegal," said Commissioner Poizner. "Department of Insurance investigators will continue to make sure that anyone who collects workers' comp benefits is doing so legally."
On November 30, 2007, Oster filed a workers' compensation claim with Solano County, alleging an injury to his left knee. Oster received his full paycheck pursuant to Labor Code Section 4850 during the first year he was off work, as he was deemed to be Temporarily Totally Disabled (TTD). After receiving one year of 4850 benefits, Oster began to receive TTD payments from the County of Solano. Oster later received Long Term Disability (LTD) payments from the California Law Enforcement Association (CLEA), a private, non-political, non-profit benefit association that offers benefits California peace officers.
A joint investigation conducted by the California Department of Insurance and the Solano County Sheriff's Office revealed that Oster allegedly concealed the fact he was working for another employer while collecting Labor Code 4850 benefits, TTD and LTD benefits.
Oster purportedly earned $67,242.43 from Western Career College and received $19,481 from CLEA. He failed to disclose these earnings to the county and CLEA, resulting in an overpayment of benefits.
Commissioner Poizner oversees sixteen CDI Enforcement Branch regional offices throughout the state. Nearly 2,800 insurance fraud-related arrests have been made by CDI since Commissioner Poizner took office in 2007 - more arrests than have been made during any other three year period, under any previous insurance commissioner.
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