Deputy faces prison for alleged workers’ comp fraud

SAN DIEGO — Arraignment is scheduled Wednesday for a San Diego County sheriff’s deputy who allegedly scammed insurers out of tens of thousands of dollars via bogus workers’ compensation claims.

Matthew Tobolsky, 40, faces eight counts of insurance fraud, two counts of filing a false claim, three counts of attempted perjury and one count of failing to disclose information that affects a payment, according to the District Attorney’s Office. If convicted on all counts, he would be in line for a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

After claiming a back injury from lifting five-gallon water bottles eight months ago, Tobolsky allegedly misrepresented his physical condition and abilities repeatedly, working out with heavy weights at a gym while telling physicians he was suffering from debilitating pain and unable to perform even light duty, according to prosecutors.

Tobolsky’s alleged crimes resulted in $57,000 worth of losses, $46,000 of which was paid directly to him, officials said. Such fraud costs California taxpayers an estimated $4 billion annually, according to District Attorney Summer Stephan.

The case against the six-year department member shows that the public “can be assured no one is above the law and (that) our employees will be held accountable if they violate the public’s trust,” Sheriff Bill Gore said.

The defendant, whose most recent assignment with the sheriff’s department was an administrative position at the agency’s Kearny Mesa headquarters, has been placed on unpaid leave pending resolution of the fraud case, sheriff’s spokesman Ryan Keim said.