An Auburn drywall worker, who admitted stealing workers’ compensation benefits and then evaded authorities for a year, must serve 60 days in jail and repay $114,752 for cash benefits as well as medical and vocational services received for over five years.
Pablo Francisco Castillo Murguia was sentenced in Thurston County this week for felony first-degree theft by Superior Court Judge Chris Lanese. He pleaded guilty in March 2016, but failed to appear for sentencing later that month. Last month, he was arrested when an officer served an order in an unrelated case, then noticed the outstanding warrant.
The case started when Castillo Murguia fell from walking stilts as he taped drywall at a Seattle job site, injuring his right knee. He filed a workplace injury claim, calling himself Juan Pedro Castillo. Treating physicians confirmed that his injury prevented him from working, allowing him to receive cash payments to make up for part of his lost wages.
On Aug. 30, 2012, he reached a settlement with L&I and received a final lump sum of nearly $7,700 for additional vocational training necessitated by his knee injury. L&I closed his case.
Within three weeks, Castillo Murguia filed a claim for another workplace injury stating that he injured his left leg while working as a drywall taper on Bainbridge Island on Sept. 7, 2012 — just eight days after his original case closed. This time he filed under his real name.
The Washington Attorney General office prosecuted the case based on an investigation by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.