SAN DIEGO — A registered nurse who bilked Sharp Healthcare out of more than $300,000 in workers’ compensation benefits was sentenced Tuesday to three years in custody followed by three years of mandatory supervision.
Golnaz Gholipour, 35, was convicted of a dozen felony counts, including perjury and insurance fraud.
Gholipour — a nurse at Sharp Hospital — initially told her doctors in January 2007 that she injured her back while waking up from a nightmare.
She initially filed for state disability benefits, but after learning that the most she could receive was $4,515 because she’d only been employed in California for a few months, she filed for workers’ compensation benefits.
“The defendant worked her illegal scam for seven years, defrauding Sharp Healthcare and repeatedly lying under oath at her deposition, in her workers’ compensation case and to her doctors,” said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
Under workers’ compensation benefits, all of the defendant’s medical expenses were covered and she received more than $88,000 for the two years she claimed she could not work after her injury. In May 2010, after all conservative care was exhausted, Gholipour had back surgery.
By April 2013, when Gholipour continued to claim she was worse off than before the surgery, the insurance company hired a private investigator.
The defendant was filmed on several occasions in a normal state with no apparent injuries. Only when she was going to a doctor’s appointment or attending legal meetings did Gholipour appear hurt and in need of a walker, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
At her deposition, Gholipour testified that she lived with her parents and that her mother had to bathe her and help her get dressed. She claimed to need to use the walker at all times, that she was depressed, had not gone out on any dates and was not involved in any relationships. She also said she had significant gastrointestinal problems and generally stayed at home groggy from the medications.
After her deposition, Gholipour was filmed over an eight-hour period as she went shopping, dined at restaurants and moved about in a normal fashion without any sign of pain or discomfort and without a walker.
On another occasion, she was filmed during a 12-hour period during which she moved potted plants on her balcony, went shopping, walked several hundred yards to go to a picnic and back and went to a movie.
In the videos, Gholipour was observed with the same man who is now her husband and they appeared to be living together, according to prosecutors.