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July 19, 1996

Department demands $369,000 repayment in pair of fraud cases

TUMWATER - The Department of Labor & Industries has uncovered two more cases of individuals who fraudulently collected worker's compensation benefits, one in the name of a dead father and the other who wanted payments mailed to her in prison in the name of her dead mother.

The department has ordered repayments of $369,000 in the cases.

The department uncovered the fraudulent payments through a tip from a prison official and matches of Social Security information about dead individuals against records of claimants receiving workers' compensation pensions. The investigations resulted in:

A $192,000 order against Elizabeth Jackson Rangel of Dugway, Utah. Investigators found she concealed her father's death and fraudulently collected workers' compensation benefits from July 1984 until October 1995. Her father, Albert W. Jackson, died July 5, 1984, in the Philippines. He had been receiving disability pension checks for an injury sustained in 1941 while employed by The Austin Co. of Renton.

The investigation showed the daughter used forged power-of-attorney documents to continue to receive her father's pension.

In the second case, the department issued a repayment order of $177,000 to Roberta G. Machado, formerly of Kennewick. An L&I investigation showed she collected pension benefits from December 1987 to February 1995 in the name of her mother, Marjorie Linville, who died in December 1987.

L&I learned of the fraudulent payments to Machado following her incarceration at the Washington Corrections Center for Women at Purdy in 1995.

Machado currently is at the Yakima Work Release Center. She has convictions for welfare fraud and drug manufacturing, according to the state Department of Corrections.

These latest cases are the result of a department initiative and a recommendation by the state auditor. Labor & Industries now does monthly cross-matches with Social Security records to check for fraudulent payments.

An earlier investigation revealed six cases in which individuals collected payments in the name of dead people. Repayment orders totaled $696,000. The cases were referred to local prosecutors.

One of those caught was found guilty of first-degree theft in Lewis County and received a 120-day sentence. Another person was charged with first-degree theft in Kittitas County.

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