2 plead no contest in alleged insurance fraud scheme


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) -- Two people entered no-contest pleas this week for allegedly defrauding insurance companies of more than $100,000 through a Bakersfield vocational school.

Sandra Paredez on Thursday pleaded no contest to a single charge of preparing a false insurance claim in exchange for the dismissal of dozens of other charges. She must pay roughly $38,000 in restitution. Judge Michael G. Bush set a hearing in March to determine if she's on track to complete payment.

On Wednesday, Cynthia Ozaeta pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor accessory charge, court records show.

Paredez, Ozaeta and others were charged in 2021. Those indicted were employees and owners of Instituto Hispano Americano, located on Chester Avenue, and employees of two local law offices.

The defendants allegedly misused Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit Vouchers, which give injured workers on disability up to $6,000 for retraining to help make them more competitive in the job market.

Injured workers were sent to Instituto Hispano Americano by law office employees who received up to $600 for each referral, prosecutors said.

Vocational school employees then sent false or misleading documentation to insurance carriers saying the workers were eligible to receive voucher money despite them not meeting minimum program qualifications, according to the indictment. It’s alleged the school lied about dozens of test results required for enrollment.

Another defendant, Anna Ayala-Reyes, is scheduled for sentencing next year after pleading guilty in June to preparing a false insurance claim, according to court records.

Those still facing charges are Sylvia Carrillo, Martin Cruz and Nelfido Cruz. They're scheduled for a hearing in January.


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