A Spanaway woman stole more than $56,000 in injured worker benefits for at least 18 months while operating a barbecue restaurant, according to the state Department of Labor & Industries.
Susan Ruiz, 51, is charged with first-degree theft.
A tip from a worker at Roadside BBQ in the Parkland area prompted an 18-month investigation that showed Ruiz fraudulently continued to receive wage-replacement money from the state after claiming a work injury in 2007, officials said.
Ruiz filed for workers compensation in September 2007 after falling off an extension ladder while painting, records show.
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Though she still was getting compensation for not being able to work, she worked at Roadside BBQ from at least May 2012 to November 2013, L&I said.
Undercover investigators also saw Ruiz overseeing the business and giving employees instructions last year.
Ruiz sold Roadside BBQ in 2013.
Before that, a man was listed on the business license as the restaurant owner, but employees told L&I the man was Ruiz’s accountant. The restaurant’s new owner told investigators he dealt directly with Ruiz when buying the business.