Tacoma woman charged with stealing $50,000 in benefits from state

TUMWATER, Wash. – A 39 year old Tacoma woman faces charges on five counts of theft for fraudulently collecting more than $50,000 in workers’ compensation benefits from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

According to the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, Deana S. Cook filed workers’ compensation claims for injuries that occurred in 2007 and 2009. The claims were allowed and Cook received the benefits based on her contention that she was unable to work due to the injuries.

A routine check of social security numbers between L&I and the Washington State Employment Security Department allegedly showed that Cook worked for two different employers during the time her L&I benefits were paid.

 Cook faces three counts of first degree theft and two counts of second degree theft. She has entered not guilty pleas to all five charges.

 L&I’s Fraud Prevention and Labor Standards program assessed $24.6 million in unpaid employer premiums plus penalties in fiscal year 2012. The program brings in nearly $9.30 for every dollar spent to fight fraud. More information is available at www.Lni.wa.gov/Main/Fraud.

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