U.S. Marshals are still searching for a fugitive Manhattan Beach resident who fled after she was convicted of multiple counts of fraud this month.
Former Amtrak employee Wanda Lee Ann Podgurski, 60, was convicted of 29 felony counts including insurance fraud, perjury, tax evasion and grand theft from the Amtrak Railroad Retirement Board but failed to appear in a San Diego courtroom for the verdict on Jan. 17.
After she failed to appear in court, a judge issued a no bail bench arrest warrant for Podgurski, who is currently facing 33 years in prison, according to a release from the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.
Podgurski was convicted of receiving more than $500,000 in disability and insurance payments for injuries that she did not suffer while working for Amtrak.
According to the district attorney, Podgurski claimed she slipped and fell at her home in August 2006 and became so severely disabled, she required an in-home caregiver. However, during that time, Podgurski embarked on extensive travels including a 16-day trip to China and trips to the Dominican Republic, New York, Seattle, Boston, Key West and other destinations.
During her trial, more than 70 witnesses testified to her activities including insurance company representatives, doctors and contractors.
"This defendant's flagrant disregard for the law and her employer increase costs for everyone," San Diego County district attorney Bonnie Dumanis said in a release. "Insurance fraud costs U.S. consumers more than $80 billion a year."
Podgurski was initially out of custody on $500,000 bond during her two-month trial and is now on the run, authorities said.
Anyone with information on Podgurski's whereabouts is asked to call the U.S. Marshal Service at 619-557-6620.