GoPro footage exposes worker’s comp fraud by correctional officer

in Crime/Featured/Headline

A 44-year-old custodial correctional officer with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office was sentenced to 10 days in jail following a plea of no contest to misdemeanor worker’s compensation fraud on Wednesday.

While Edmundo Rocha was on disability for a shoulder injury in 2016, footage from a GoPro camera captured him participating in a Spartan Race obstacle course, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

In October of that year, Rocha reported a shoulder injury he suffered during a defensive tactics training the month before. He was offered workers compensation benefits and diagnosed with a left shoulder sprain, prosecutors said. His doctor kept him on modified duty and the sheriff’s office eventually “sent him home” by putting him on Total Temporary Disability.

There’s little doubt Rocha suffered an injury, prosecutors say, as he would end up undergoing surgery on his left shoulder.

But nine days after he was placed on Total Temporary Disability, Rocha competed in a Spartan Race. The footage from the GoPro camera, which was worn by a fellow sheriff’s deputy and uncovered during the investigation, showed him “doing many of the obstacles that appeared to be in violation of his restrictions,” said District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Rocha met with a specialist weeks later, failing during that time to disclose to the sheriff’s office or medical professionals that he was able to perform in some of the Spartan Race obstacles, Wagstaffe said.

Along with the 10-day jail sentence, Rocha was ordered to pay $5,000 restitution to the county, Wagstaffe said. According to Bay City News, Rocha resigned from his position at the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.