Des Moines Interpreter charged with mileage and billing fraud repays state
A Des Moines based Spanish-language interpreter charged with overbilling the state has repaid more than $5,600 for mileage and patient appointments that authorities say never happened.
According to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, Bersabed Boling, 41, appeared in Thurston County Superior Court on Tuesday (Oct. 27), and paid back the full amount that she was accused of stealing from the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).
The department had paid Boling to interpret at medical and other appointments that assist limited-English-speaking workers recovering from workplace injuries. The case resulted from an L&I investigation.
“Interpreters play a key role in helping us serve injured employees in our diverse workforce. They help injured workers understand what their doctors say, and how to return to work when they’re healthy,” said Elizabeth Smith, assistant director of L&I’s Fraud Prevention & Labor Standards. “This is an important service, and we will not tolerate abuse of it.”
Original charge: first-degree theft
Judge Anne Hirsch allowed Boling to enter a court-approved community diversion program that will supervise her for one year. The program will report to the court and the Washington Attorney General’s office if she violates the conditions of the agreement. Boling must pay the $150 monthly cost to take part.
If she completes the program successfully, pays additional court costs and obeys the law for a year, the first-degree theft charge against her will be dismissed. But if she fails any requirements, she will be found guilty of the felony and face up to 90 days in jail, according to the Attorney General’s office, which prosecuted Boling.
“Physically impossible” trips
Boling was doing business as En Tu Idioma, which means “In Your Language,” when the alleged incidents occurred from May 2012 through October 2013.
Court documents accused Boling of using several schemes to steal from the state, including billing for interpreter services at 15 health care and vocational appointments that never occurred.
She was also accused of submitting mileage for “physically impossible” trips by claiming she made multiple round trips from Auburn to Everett on the same days and at overlapping times.