CrimeDivas

Female White-Collar Crime Divas-Mordern Day Thieves

‘Catch-me-if-you-can’ – Woman Sentenced to over 20 years on the run!

Wanda Lee Ann Podgurski

“The repetition of a crime is sometimes part of a device of justification: we do it again and again to convince ourselves and others that is a common thing and not an enormity.” Eric Hoffer

     The CrimeDiva of the day, Wanda Lee Ann Podgurski, 60, of Manhattan Beach, CA is, according to officials, on the run. Ms. Podgurski was free on bond and failed to show up at her sentence hearing. The judge gave her 20 years and four months and slapped her with a $1 million in fines and restitution. I guess that would scare anyone, but you can’t run, because you will be hunt down and put in prison with additional time.

This occurred back in January, it is now June. I wanted to know if she had been apprehended, so I checked the CA Department of Corrections website to see if she was in their custody, she was not. According to her boyfriend, he last seen her the night before the sentencing, interesting.

I found this in an article written about Ms. Podgurski. Although prosecutors do not know if Podgurski wrote it, a Twitter account — @wanda_podgurski — contains one post from June 5: “Catch me if you can!” I sure hope this woman did not post that, bad form.

Let’s get to the meat of this legal case. Ms. Podgurski worked as a clerk for Amtrak making  $44,000-a-year.  At some point she secured six insurance policies, and increased her premiums to more than $60,000. Under those policies, she had the ability to collect about $40,000 a month if she became disabled.

 In 2006, Ms. Podgurski claimed she slipped and fell at home and became disabled. She filed claims with all six insurance companies and her employer.  She was able to have several doctors sign letters saying she was disabled. The doctors relied on her statements and refusal to perform some tasks during her exams, according to the records.

Jurors of her peer found, Ms. Podgurski guilty of 29 felony counts of insurance fraud and other charges, not only from the seven insurance companies, but a government agency too; collected over $500,000.

Suspicious as most insurance company private investigators are, they had surveillance on her and found she could not only walk stairs, but drive herself to the store and run errands without any help. In addition, she went on trips to the Dominican Republic; New York; Seattle; Boston; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Key West, Fla.; Eureka, Calif.; and the Berkshires. Prosecutors showed jurors video of her walking on the Great Wall of China during a 16-day tour in 2008.

“Have you heard that song, ‘Somebody watching me’.” I wonder if Ms. Podgurski knows that there is a national data base where insurance companies are able to view various data on insurers, all of them. I also, wonder if she read and watch television, because these types of insurance fraud claims are frequently mentioned. This is a hint to everyone else, use your common sense and stay honest.

Ms. Podgurski was charged with insurance fraud, perjury, grand theft from Amtrak Railroad Retirement Board and tax evasion. In 2011, prosecutors added a charge of making a false claim for $261,000 worth of stolen jewelry. Seventy witnesses, including doctors, lawyers, insurance company investigators and contractors, testified during her trial.

I’m sure the prosecutors offered this woman a plea deal. Why she didn’t take it is a mystery to me….

Have you notice how far back some of these cases start?  But, keep in mind some go back even farther, because the investigation had been going for an extended period of time and usually without the defendant’s knowledge.

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