A registered nurse who claimed she injured her back waking up from a bad dream and went on to pretend she couldn’t work for seven years was sentenced to six years of local custody.
The defendant, Golnaz Gholipour, 35, was convicted of 12 felony counts including perjury and insurance fraud. She defrauded her employer, Sharp HealthCare out of more than $300,000 over a seven-year period. Gholipour told her doctors in January 2007 that she injured her back while waking up from a nightmare. After learning that the most she could receive from state disability was $4,515 based on the fact that she had only been employed in California a few months, she filed for workers’ compensation benefits.
“The defendant worked her illegal scam for seven years, defrauding Sharp HealthCare and repeatedly lying under oath at her deposition, in her workers’ compensation case and to her doctors,” DA Dumanis said. “Deputy District Attorneys Alan Kessler and Kim Scott, of our Insurance Fraud Division, prosecuted this egregious case that ultimately held the defendant accountable for her scheme.”
Gholipour was filmed on several occasions in a normal state with no apparent injuries. Only when she was going to doctor’s visits or attending legal meetings did she appear hurt and in need of a walker.
At her deposition, Gholipour testified that she lived with her parents and that her mother had to bathe her and help her get dressed. She claimed to need to use the walker at all times, that she was depressed, had not gone out on any dates and was not involved in any relationships. She also said she had significant gastro-intestinal problems and generally stayed at home groggy from her medications.
All of this was debunked as she was filmed shopping, dining, moving heavy objects and carrying out a relationship with a man who is now her husband. After a two-week jury trial, the defendant was convicted on eight counts of perjury and four counts of insurance fraud.
“The California Department of Insurance, Sharp Healthcare, Ace American Insurance, and ESIS were instrumental in helping prosecutors achieve justice in this case,” said Dominic Dugo, Chief of the Insurance Fraud Division.