The Kern County District Attorney announced the filing and arraignment of a major felony case alleging 24 felony counts related to alleged worker’s compensation fraud.
According to a probable cause declaration obtained by KGET.com, Ava McLean failed to disclose and denied prior injuries she suffered when she filed her worker’s compensation claims. Those alleged injuries, which she said prevented her from working, didn’t stop her from dancing, wearing high heels, ziplining and horseback riding.
Additionally, the declaration says, McLean altered medical records and submitted them to her insurance company. She deflected questions from a District Attorney’s office investigator, the document says, by talking about her son’s ailments and saying she now has a brain tumor.
Doctors who examined her over the years noted she showed “narcotic-seeking symptoms.” Between November 2016 and October 2019, McLean had been prescribed or asked multiple doctors to prescribe her pain medications 25 times.
McLean was in vehicle crashes in 2012 and 2017. She initially did not report any injuries following the 2017 accident. But later said she suffered a strained neck, and later still said there were injuries to her feet that would require surgery. McLean filed worker’s compensation claims in both crashes.
Earlier in 2017, months before the crash, McLean had surgery on both ankles and feet to correct her “flat feet,” the declaration says. Implants were placed in both feet, the hardware put in her right foot became displaced and she had post-op problems requiring medical leave from work and opioids for pain into August 2017.
When McLean made the claim regarding the 2017 crash, she failed to inform her insurance of any prior injuries to her feet or neck, the declaration says.
In April 2018, Bakersfield Heart Hospital gave her a final written warning, letting her know she would be fired for any further disciplinary actions, for and expired Basic Life Support Certification, wearing acrylic nails and insubordination.
The next month McLean reported she was experiencing foot and ankle pain, according to the filing. There was no mention of this injury happening at work. The following day, May 16, 2018, she reported neck pain to her doctor – making no mention of foot or ankle pain – and said she had injured herself at work.
McLean told her employer the same day that she had suffered two injuries, one to her back, the other to her ankle, while working at Bakersfield Heart Hospital, according to the filing. She was taken off work and didn’t return, and a co-worker contradicted McLean’s version of events in how she suffered the alleged injuries.
During examinations over the following days – and even when questioned multiple times the next year – McLean denied making any prior worker’s compensation claims, ongoing treatment or prior injuries, the filing says.
It was in 2018 that McLean posted a video on social media of her dancing, horseback riding and engaging in other physical activities with friends, the declaration says. Surveillance video taken of her showed she had no difficulty walking up or down stairs.
McLean pleaded not guilty to the 24 felony charges.