Former Foster Farms worker pleads in workers comp case

A former Foster Farms worker has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge in Stanislaus County Superior Court to resolve a case involving allegations of workers compensation fraud.

Carlos Maldonado Romero, 51, pleaded no contest in November to false impersonation and was sentenced to three years' summary probation, 160 hours of community service and ordered to pay $3,500 in restitution to Foster Farms, according to a news release issued this week by Probe Information Services, which investigates workers compensation cases for Foster Farms.

He also had been charged with three felonies, which were dismissed.

Maldonado Romero worked for Foster Farms' Crystal Creamery facility in Fresno as a milker. He no longer is with the company, according to a Probe Information Services official.

He was charged in Stanislaus County because he did not disclose prior back injuries and workers compensation claims when he was treated and evaluated by doctors in Modesto, according to Probe Information Services. He said he had hurt his back while working for Foster Farms.

The news release states he worked for Foster Farms under the name of Carlos Maldonado and filed a workers compensation claim under that name. But the release states he had filed two previous claims under the name of Carlos Maldonado Romero while working as a roofer and a milker under a different Social Security number.

The release states Maldonado Romero received permanent disability ratings of 13 percent and 55 percent and settlements of $20,000 and $65,000 under those two previous cases, which he did not disclose.

"The material misrepresentations made to the qualified medical evaluator of his denial of prior back injuries provided evidence of attempted theft of permanent disability," according to the release.

The defendant — who also uses the name Carlos Romero Maldonado — his attorney and the prosecutor could not be reached for comment Friday.