Caught On Camera: Beauty Pageant Contestant Nabbed In Workers’ Compensation Fraud

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — A 22-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of participating in several beauty pageants while collecting workers’ compensation benefits for a foot injury.

KCAL9’s Crystal Cruz spoke with insurance-fraud investigators about the suspicious claim.

“She certainly possessed beauty and bravado, but certainly not too much brains,” said Byron Tucker, Deputy Insurance Commissioner.

According to officials, Shawna Lynn Palmer claimed to her employer March 10 that she was unable to continue working due to a foot injury she sustained as a clerk at Stater Bros.

During multiple doctors visits, Palmer said she could not place any weight on her foot, could not wear any type of shoe for a period of time and could not move it in any direction.

Palmer’s doctor provided her with an orthopedic shoe and crutches, and ordered her to refrain from working, along with elevating her foot whenever possible.

While collecting benefits, Palmer participated in at least two beauty contests, where she was seen walking in high heels without any signs of discomfort.

It was the unusual delay back to work, however, that led investigators to look closer into the claim.

“She lied to her employer, she lied to her doctor, she lied to a lot of people,” said Tucker. “She eventually got arrested and busted for this.”

Palmer was arrested Friday after video evidence revealed her participation in the 2014 Miss Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix beauty contest.

“Fraudulently collecting workers’ compensation benefits by lying about the severity of an injury is illegal and insulting to legitimately injured Californians,” said Commissioner Dave Jones. “This suspect made the job of our departments’ detectives easier by openly participating in high-profile events.”

A YouTube video shows Palmer in the Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach 2014 competition:

If convicted, Palmer faces up to one year in county jail, three years of probation and must pay $24,000 in restitution.

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