Atwater construction worker arraigned for workers’ compensation insurance fraud

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Meliton Hernandez Martinez Jr., 23, was arraigned on Aug. 11 at the Merced County Superior Court on multiple felony counts of insurance fraud and a misdemeanor count of filing a false police report, after allegedly instigating a physical altercation resulting in stab wounds to his abdomen and arm.

An investigation by the California Department of Insurance (DoI) revealed Martinez was on an approved mid-morning work break while employed with a construction company. During the break, surveillance footage and witness statements revealed that Martinez made inappropriate gestures to a female in a parking lot and was then confronted by the female’s boyfriend, a former U.S. Marine, who asked Martinez to be respectful, the DoI said in a statement.

Surveillance footage revealed Martinez began punching the boyfriend in the face multiple times, without provocation. As a result, Martinez was stabbed in the abdomen and the arm, which was later determined to be self-defense by local law enforcement.

After being airlifted to a local hospital, Martinez filed a workers’ compensation claim with his employer and provided false statements in regards to the incident. Advantage Workers’ Compensation Insurance Company later denied all medical bills in relation to the claim after discovering Martinez was the initial physical aggressor, and toxicology results revealed Martinez was under the influence of alcohol and cannabis at the time of the altercation.

The Merced County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case.

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