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Industry Insights

Grinberg: Snipers, Deputies and Fraud

  • State: California

Some readers may recall an HBO cop drama called “The Wire.” The show focused mostly on the difficulty of prosecuting a drug war in Baltimore against the backdrop of organized crime, poverty, corruption and complacency among career city and state employees.

Gregory Grinberg

Gregory Grinberg

One character on that show, Det. Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski, had a general reputation for incompetence despite a rising career thanks to a high-ranking father-in-law. One of the stories following Det. Pryzbylewski is that he accidentally managed to shoot his own car and then claimed he was fired upon by snipers, a ridiculous story that led to him being mocked regularly by his coworkers.

Silly, right? Who in their right mind would claim to have been under sniper fire? Save that nonsense for the screen. Unless ...

Well, at least one person thought it might be a good idea to do just that, and he is not a fictional character. Former Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Angel R. Reinosa claimed to have sustained sniper fire while leaving a sheriff’s station in 2019. He filed a workers’ compensation claim that didn’t last long in the face of an investigation showing that nothing happened.

The ceiling and floor have both fallen out of this story if the Sheriff’s Department’s version of the facts is correct. Not only is this a sworn peace officer who is allegedly engaged in insurance fraud, but we’re not even talking about exaggerating the impact of a back strain or claiming a nonindustrial injury occurred at work. 

As always, the damage done by these allegations, if true, extends beyond the cost of adjusting a workers’ compensation claim. If the deputy is convicted of this sniper hoax, as the Sheriff’s Department has labeled it, what other hoaxes did the deputy perpetrate while wearing a badge? Are there convictions that now need to be re-examined, and possibly retried, to see if the conviction can stand without the contributions of former Deputy Reinosa?

Will the next law enforcement officer to claim a legitimate industrial injury face unwarranted suspicion?

I hope the truth (and justice) will speedily be reached in these proceedings.

Gregory Grinberg is a workers' compensation defense attorney at the Law Office of Gregory Grinberg, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. This post is reprinted with permission from Grinberg's WCDefenseCA blog.

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