Federal Way woman must repay state in workers’ comp scam

Woman earned more than $8,181 from the hotel and nursing facility jobs at the same time she was receiving the wage-replacement payments.

A food-service employee who claimed she was too injured to work has been ordered to pay back more than $11,000 in disability payments after she was caught working at a nursing home and hotel.

Monica De Lopez, 52, of Federal Way, admitted the fraud and pleaded guilty May 30 in Seattle to third-degree theft, a gross misdemeanor.

King County Superior Court Judge Pro Tem Kenneth Comstock accepted the plea, but deferred finding her guilty for two years if she meets certain conditions, according to a press release from the state Department of Labor and Industries. She must repay $11,683 for cash benefits she wrongfully obtained from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), submit no false L&I claims, break no criminal laws and serve probation.

If she pays the entire amount and stays out of trouble, the case will be dismissed. If she doesn’t meet the conditions, she must return to court for sentencing, where she would be found guilty and could be sentenced to up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

The Washington Attorney General prosecuted the case based on an L&I investigation.

The investigation found that De Lopez originally injured her back changing a bed in 2015 while working as a housekeeper at a Seattle hotel.

Based on her physician’s assessment and De Lopez officially declaring she was not working and could not work due to her injury, she began receiving cash benefits from L&I to replace part of her wages.

The department began investigating De Lopez in 2017 after a routine cross-check of L&I and state Employment Security Department records showed she was earning wages while receiving the L&I wage-replacement payments.

L&I’s investigation determined that she worked as a breakfast attendant at a Seattle hotel for a month in early 2016. That spring, she started a job as a dishwasher and dietary aide for a skilled nursing facility in Seattle for five months.

During the same period, she turned down employment help from her vocational counselor and repeatedly told medical staff she was unable to work, court documents state.

De Lopez earned more than $8,181 from the hotel and nursing facility jobs at the same time she was receiving the wage-replacement payments, according to the press release.

More in News

Reach Out provides homeless ‘second chance’

People experiencing homelessness share their stories at annual Reach Out breakfast Nov. 7.

Third alleged sexual assault reported at Federal Way foot massage business in three years

The victim reported to police that a masseur inappropriately touched her genital area during a massage at the business.

Political activist Tim Eyman campaigns for Initiative 976 on Nov. 5 in downtown Bellevue. The initiative promised $30 car tabs while functionally eliminating the ability of agencies like Sound Transit to raise taxes for its projects. Photo by Aaron Kunkler
Election analysis: I-976 vote casts South King County against Seattle, Eastside

Preliminary precinct counts show support for the initiative split by region.

Federal Way 7-Eleven robbed at gunpoint for fourth time in one month

The suspect fled on foot; no injuries were reported, police say.

Man shot in leg in another city arrives at Federal Way urgent care

The man was transported to St. Francis Hospital for treatment, police said.

Man in critical condition after Federal Way shooting

Man in his 30s was shot and transported to Harborview Medical Center; information obtained by officers reveal the shooting may have occurred at nearby apartment complex on 1st Way South, Federal Way police say.

A King County judge found the company misled customers into thinking it was a charity. Photo courtesy of the state Attorney General’s office
Judge rules Value Village deceived customers

The King County judge found the company misled customers into thinking it was a charity.

Defending freedom to battling flames

Veterans now serving as firefighters reflect on service to country.

Federal Way’s Annual ‘Honoring Our Own’ event recognizes local heroes

The Veterans Day observance ceremony to be held Nov. 9 at Todd Beamer High School.

Most Read