Beauty pageant contestant arrested for insurance fraud

A young beauty contestant was arrested Friday for workers' compensation fraud after police discovered her social media posts.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
A young beauty contestant was arrested Friday for workers' compensation fraud after authorities discovered her social media posts.

Shawna Lynn Palmer participated in this year's Miss Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix Beauty Pageant. A YouTube video shows the 22-year-old strutting onstage in high heels with the other contestants.

The problem? She was collecting worker's compensation benefits at the time on a foot injury.

"She went to her doctor (and) told her employers that she couldn't work," said Byron Tucker, deputy commissioner at the California Department of Insurance.

Palmer posted videos and photos of herself at pageants and other events on Facebook. Investigators said the posts on social media helped them make the case.

"You can't post things to social media while claiming that you're legitimately injured, taking a check from the state for worker's compensation benefits and expect not to get caught," Tucker said.

In March, Palmer was working as a clerk at a Stater Brothers in Riverside when she claimed she fractured a toe on the job.

"Had multiple visits to her doctor, was referred to a specialist, but all the time claiming she couldn't wear a shoe, she couldn't stand for long periods of time. She had a lot of difficulty walking," Tucker said.

Palmer's father rejected the charges.

"All we're going to say is that it's absolute crap," he said.

If convicted, Palmer faces up to a year in jail.

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