A spokesperson for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said they have arrested a civilian employee on suspicion of fraud. Defendant Keri Atwood and her husband, Michael Atwood have since been booked into the Ventura County Jail. Each faces multiple felony counts including burglary, grand theft, conspiracy and workers’ compensation fraud.
Prosecutors did not indicate how they were tipped off as to the Atwoods’ unlawful activities. What is known is that the incident reportedly began around the time Ms. Atwood accused a coworker of accidentally injuring her ankle by striking it with a mail cart. The VCSD said the defendant was granted disability leave and collected disability pay in an amount ranging between $29,000 and $30,000. The exact dollar figure has not yet been made public.
Investigators said they have evidence showing Ms. Atwood willfully attempted to defraud the VCSD and the State of California by using a wheelchair and crutches to attend doctors appointments. They further indicated having proof that during that time period she was seen in other places and circumstances walking and moving about freely. She was also seen participating in activities that medical professionals indicated she would not be capable of doing based on her condition.
The Atwoods are being held in lieu of undisclosed bail amounts. Ms. Atwood could face more than nine years in prison if convicted. Her husband could a sentence equaling to approximately four and a half years. Authorities said he was charged because he knew of the fraud yet failed to report it.
Both are scheduled to be arraigned later this week. It is not clear whether either has reached out to a Ventura bondsman for assistance in arranging a bond.