Probation officer charged with workers comp fraud

DOWNEY - A Los Angeles County probation officer was arrested at her office in Downey on charges that she filed nine fraudulent on-the-job injury claims, authorities announced this week.Rochelle Williams, who has worked for the Probation Department since February 2006, allegedly forged department and medical documents - including signatures - to support her claims for workers compensation, authorities said. The injury claims date back to November 2009. Williams was arrested at probation headquarters in Downey by investigators from the California Department of Insurance with assistance from senior probation department executives. She has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of administrative and criminal investigations. In a statement, Los Angeles County chief probation officer Jerry Powers said he is "committed to ensuring that all staff in the Probation Department adhere to the highest standards required of a professional law enforcement organization. In those instances where staff fail to meet those standards, the department will seek appropriate remedies including criminal prosecution when staff violate the laws that they are sworn to uphold. Powers said he is initiating investigations into "several other potential criminal cases" involving department employees. "We are continuing to work closely with other law enforcement agencies including the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office to crack down on instances of employee fraud," Powers said. "When I first arrived in Los Angeles to take over the Probation Department one of the primary areas of concern had been and continues to be instances of employee misconduct in the area of workman's compensation and criminal activity. I have solicited assistance from both county and other local and state agencies to address these issues." Powers emphasized that the majority of Probation Department workers are honest and take pride in what they do. "Hopefully this will serve as a clear message that this Chief and this Probation Department will not tolerate criminal behavior by the staff," Powers added. "This is a law enforcement agency and, as such, we will hold ourselves to a higher standard both on and off duty."

********** Published: September 6, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 21