Detailed by the Los Angeles Times this week, 60-year-old Wanda Lee Ann Podgurski allegedly used Twitter to taunt the San Diego County district attorney’s office last month and that tweet eventually led to her arrest. Podgurski became a fugitive earlier this year after posting a $500,000 property bond to stay out of jail during her two-month trial on 29 felony counts which included insurance fraud charges. According to court documents, Podgurski took out health insurance policies with multiple insurance companies and filed several claims on an injury that led her to be allegedly disabled.
While Podgurski made approximately $44,000 per year as an Amtrak clerk, Podgurski collected up to $40,000 per year for each policy. At the time of her arrest, she had collected approximately $664,000 in disability payments and used that money to vacation in Boston, China, the Dominican Republic, Fort Lauderdale, Key West, New York and Seattle. On June 21, 2013, Podgurski was tried in absentia and sentenced to twenty years in prison for her crimes.
Regarding the events that led to her arrest, Podgurski posted “Catch me if you can” on her Twitter account last month and the San Diego County district attorney’s office took notice. After notifying the U.S. Marshal Service, it’s likely that Podgurski’s IP address was tracked down giving authorities an approximate location of her residence. Authorities eventually located and arrested Podgurski in Rosarita, Mexico before transporting her back into the United States.
In addition to the twenty year sentence, Podgurski could face an additional two to three years for failing to appear in court during January 2013. The San Diego County district attorney’s gave credit to the Computer and Technology Crime High-Tech Response Team for locating Podgurski using social media. Specifically, San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis stated “The defendant in this case was brazen in both the large-scale fraud she committed and the way she mocked the criminal justice system. Law enforcement, and in particular the US Marshals and Fugitive Task Force, did a great job tracking the defendant down and taking her into custody.”