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August 16, 2016

Bridezilla and Workers’ Comp Fraud

Summary:

What is it about reality-TV stars and insurance fraud? Another one pleads guilty, to lying to receive workers' comp benefits.

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In a high-profile case that highlights the potential for insurance fraud, a Los Angeles woman who was featured in Season 4 of the “Bridezillas” television series pleaded no contest to 14 counts of submitting fraudulent documents and making false claims to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Anita Maxwell, 55, was sentenced to one day in county jail, three years of summary probation, 200 hours of community service and restitution in the amount of $11,873.79.

Maxwell, a clinical partner, had alleged a neck, back and shoulder injury while assisting a patient. She lied to her medical providers in a recorded statement obtained by Probe Information Services, where she denied she had any prior injuries to her neck, back or shoulders. Maxwell’s prior medical records were located by Probe Information Services in a medical canvass, and those records were presented to her medical providers. Medical providers confirmed Maxwell had denied any prior injury or treatment, thereby concealing information in an attempt to obtain WC benefits that she was not entitled to receive. Her primary treating physician testified that, had he known about the concealed information, he would have provided a different opinion as to apportionment of permanent disability. Based on her attempted theft of permanent disability benefits, Maxwell was charged with insurance fraud for multiple counts of material misrepresentations.

Maxwell was featured in the first episode of the fourth season of WE Television’s “Bridezillas” in 2007, where she was humiliated after being left at the altar. She isn’t the first reality TV star to be charged with workers’ comp fraud. In 2011, “Real Housewives of Orange County” participant Devon Lynn Kile pleaded guilty to fraud charges in a $30 million premium fraud scheme. In 2012, James Frank Smith, who was a participant in the History Channels’ “Ax Men” series, was charged with fraudulently claiming he was unable to work.

See also: How Should Workers’ Compensation Evolve?  

Maxwell had been charged in 2014, but the case languished until she pleaded no contest this month.

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About the Author

Dalene Bartholomew is an insurance fraud specialist, investigative training expert, recognized speaker and author. Bartholomew is vice president with Probe Information Services, a certified fraud examiner, certified insurance fraud investigator, licensed investigator and workers’ compensation fraud authority.

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