Two L&I Interpreters Charged with Felony Theft

The Washington state Department of Labor & Industries announced Gloria Mendoza Garcia, 46, and her daughter, Gloria Del Rocio Gonzalez, 31, each face one count of first-degree theft. They were the department's top billers for mileage in 2012.

Two women who provided interpreting services for the Washington state Department of Labor & Industries and were its top billers for mileage now are charged with felony theft in a case that alleges they overbilled the state by thousands of dollars. Gloria Mendoza Garcia, 46, and her daughter, Gloria Del Rocio Gonzalez, 31, each face one count of first-degree theft. They pleaded not guilty and have their cases set for trial June 9, according to L&I.

L&I pays for interpretation and interpreters' mileage as part of worker injury claims, and the two women interpreted for Spanish-speaking injured workers at medical appointments.

"According to charging papers, Mendoza Garcia claimed in her mileage bills that she started her trips from the address of a Seattle sports clinic. Though she told L&I investigators she had appointments there, clinic staff told investigators they didn't recognize her," the department's news release stated. "Mendoza Garcia often billed L&I for more than 500 miles — and sometimes more than 800 miles — in the same day, charging papers said. On Oct. 17, 2012, for instance, she claimed to make five separate roundtrips from Seattle to Burlington, Mount Vernon, and Sedro Wooley — trips that an investigator found would have been impossible to make in the hours she claimed. In her mileage bills to L&I, Del Rocio Gonzalez claimed to start her trips from Marysville, more than 30 miles away from her home, charging papers said. She told investigators that the Marysville address, where she lived four years earlier, was on a billing template in her iPad, and she never changed it."

The charges allege Mendoza Garcia fraudulently received more than $28,000 from March 2012 through February 2013 and Del Rocio Gonzalez fraudulently received more than $16,000 during the same period.

L&I fraud investigators uncovered this when they checked to see which interpreters were billing the agency the most for mileage in 2012. Garcia was at the top of the list, billing a total of $38,012; her daughter ranked second, billing $24,953.

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