SANTA ANA, Calif. – An Orange County Social Services Agency (SSA) group counselor has been charged and is expected to be arraigned tomorrow for defrauding over $30,000 from the County of Orange by making fraudulent statements relating to his workers' compensation claim. Maluelue Tafua, 40, Orange, is charged with two felony counts of insurance fraud and two felony counts of making fraudulent statements. If convicted, Tafua faces a maximum sentence of eight years in state prison. He is out of custody on $20,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Nov. 4, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
At the time of the crime, Tafua worked as a group counselor for SSA.
On Jan. 8, 2014, Tafua is accused of claiming that he injured his right shoulder and elbow restraining someone while working at Orangewood Children's Home. SSA attempted to accommodate his injury by assigning him to modified duties within the work restrictions prescribed by the treating physician. Tafua is accused of going to his doctor and claiming to be unable to use his right arm. SSA could not accommodate that restriction and placed Tafua on temporary total disability.
On June 3, 2014, Tafua is accused of bench pressing 315 pounds in a gym. During a medical appointment with his doctor the following day, Tafua is accused of claiming that his pain had not improved and that he had been complying with his treatment. He is accused of failing to report that he exercised using weights at the gym.
On July 14, 2014, the County began investigating this case after observing inconsistencies in the defendant's statements, what was observed at the gym, and what activities he told the doctor he was capable of performing.
Deputy District Attorney Pam Leitao of the Insurance Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 15CF2317 / November 3, 2015