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“TWAPPED BY A TWITTER”
It was a rather cool case of working together — and Wanda Lee Ann Podgurski’s twittered taunt of District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis was what sealed the deal.
Podgurski obviously had her eye on a Disability Insurance payout long before the fateful twitter incident. Even though she was earning an annual salary of just $44,000 at Amtrack, she was paying $60,000 per year in disability insurance premium payments to six insurance companies,. Balboa, Reassure America, Prudential, Kanawha, Unum and MetLife.
Simple mathematics revealed that the grand sum of $40,000 per month would be paid to her if she became disabled — and, should that happen, she could collect as long as she stayed disabled and never have to pay another premium. Do the numbers. By paying out 60 grand a year for a while, she could bank almost a half million dollars a year if she got hurt.
In retrospect, was it any great surprise that Podgurski took a fall at home that rendered her too injured to work? Heck, no. Then she file claims, started collecting the big bucks, and traveled around the world with her boyfriend. Not hard to do on $40K a month! She raked in $664,555.15 prior to being arrested. She paid for trips to China, the Dominican Republic, New York, Seattle, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Eureka, the Berkshires and more. Perhaps soothing her poor pain-wracked body?
In January of this year, Podgurski was convicted of 29 felony counts related to faking injuries During the two month trial, she was out on $500,000 bail. So guess who did not show up in court for the sentencing hearing? In absentia, the court gave her 20 years and four months in state prison. Not showing up added yet another felony charge and if convicted she could receive an additional two years and eight months in prison. (Which is nothing like a 16-day escorted luxury tour through China, as we all know.)
Podgurski headed south, across the border into Mexico. Her downfall came when she could not help mocking District Attorney Dumanis with a twitter message. “Catch me if you can,” she wrote. Bad move, Wanda Lee Ann Podgurski.
The DA’s office turned it over to C.A.T.C.H. (Computer and Technology Crime High-Tech Response Team), they located fugitive Podgurski in Rosarita and captured her..Bail was denied. She’s not traveling anywhere — except to prison — for a very long time.