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Arrest Warrant Issued for Former Encinitas Resident

Wanda Lee Ann Podgurski was convicted of 29 felony charges.

A former Amtrak employee and Encinitas resident who duped insurance companies and others via disability and homeowner scams was convicted in absentia Thursday of 29 felony charges, including insurance fraud and grand theft.

A no-bail arrest warrant was issued for 60-year-old Wanda Lee Ann Podgurski when she failed to show up for the verdict in San Diego Superior Court. She used to live in Encinitas, according to U-T San Diego.

In addition to insurance fraud and grand theft from the Amtrak Railroad Retirement Board, the defendant was also convicted of perjury, tax evasion and a white-collar enhancement involving the theft of more than $500,000.

"Insurance fraud costs U.S. consumers more than $80 billion a year," said San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. "This defendant's flagrant disregard for the law and her employer increase costs for everyone."

Podgurski claimed she slipped and fell at home in August 2006, which caused her to be so severely disabled that she required an in-home caregiver to assist her with daily living. During the time she was allegedly disabled, Podgurski took several vacations, including a 16-day tour to China in 2008 with her boyfriend, prosecutors said.

The defendant also traveled to the Dominican Republic, New York, Seattle, Boston and Fort Lauderdale, and took road trips to Key West, Eureka, the Berkshires and other destinations, according to the prosecution.

Podgurski had posted a $500,000 property bond and was out of custody during the two-month trial.

Anyone with information of her whereabouts is asked to call the U.S. Marshals Service at (619) 557-6620. Podgurski was last living in the Manhattan Beach area.

-City News Service

unknownauthor January 19, 2013 at 04:27 AM
Another fraud everyone should be aware of is the Amway Tool Scam. Google "Stop The Amway Tool Scam Wordpress" for more information, and forward this information to every non-Distributor/IBO you know, so they don't get ripped off.
Sarah Riccitelli January 19, 2013 at 04:42 PM
It's people like her that make it so much harder for truly disabled people to get by.
Robert Paulson January 19, 2013 at 10:16 PM
If you have anything to do with Amway you have no one but yourself to blame.
unknownauthor January 21, 2013 at 12:05 PM
Robert, this simply isn't true. There are many ethnic groups in the USA that don't read/speak English very well, and although a great argument can be made they should learn, they simply don't have access to the internet's vast information that English reading/speaking folks do. There are also people who join because a trusted friend or relative approaches them, and tells them the negative information on the internet is from bitter losers, people who don't know what they're talking about, etc. To blame the victims and not the liars is a mistake.
Robert Paulson January 21, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Whether they were deceived or lied to, the ultimate responsibility lies with ones self. We all are lied to and deceived daily. I applaud your warning but we are all daily bombarded with lies and scams many of them perpetrated by major corporations whose only objective is to get our money. NO ONE is immune.

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