‘Bridezillas’ woman accused of lying to collect workers’ compensation benefits, faces insurance fraud charges
A woman featured on the hit TV show “Bridezillas” was ushered into a Los Angeles courtroom Tuesday on charges she engaged in insurance fraud.
Anita Maxwell, 55, surrendered herself on 14 felony counts associated with the alleged scheme, the California Department of Insurance said Wednesday.
Officials claim Maxwell, who appeared in season four of the WE reality series, submitted fraudulent documents and made false claims to receive more than $40,000 in undeserved workers’ compensation benefits.
“Taking advantage of the workers’ compensation system is not only illegal, but costly to all Californians who pay for this fraud through higher premiums,” Commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement.
“These types of fraudulent claims are an insult to legitimately injured workers,” he said.
The department’s investigation began in 2012 after Maxwell claimed she injured her neck, back, and shoulder while assisting a patient at her job at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, state investigators said.
While out on workers’ compensation, Maxwell lied to her doctor, denying she had prior injuries to her neck, back and shoulder, officials said.
The investigation alleges that Maxwell had multiple prior injuries dating back to 1990. Prior to the 2012 claim, Maxwell received $20,000 from similar workers’ compensation claims, officials said.
Upon learning of the prior injuries, Maxwell’s doctor said he would have changed the apportionment and disability amounts to reflect the past trauma, lowering her claim to only 25% related to her work injury, investigators said.
In addition to lying about her injuries, Maxwell also submitted false mileage forms for her supposed travel to and from doctors and physical therapy appointments, officials claim.
Surveillance conducted during the investigation allegedly shows Maxwell on more than a dozen occasions commuting to her appointments from a different location than the one she reported to her insurer.
The fraudulent mileage forms submitted resulted in over $5,000 in undeserved mileage reimbursement, state officials said.
In her “Bridezillas” appearance, Maxwell broke down crying when her 10-years-young fiance Dion stood her up at the alter.
She was left with a lavishly decorated reception hall full of waiting guests but ultimately decided to forgive Dion and tie the knot a day later in Las Vegas.