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.
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.