Santa Clara County correctional deputy pleads no contest to workers compensation fraud

SAN JOSE (BCN) — A Santa Clara County correctional deputy pleaded no contest Tuesday to workers compensation fraud.

Mark Navarrete had previously pleaded not guilty to felony charges of making and presenting a false or fraudulent statement in support of a workers’ compensation claim, but changed his plea Tuesday to no contest,

Santa Clara County District Attorney David Soares said. He had faced another charge of making a false statement in support of an insurance claim, which was later dismissed, Soares said.

The deputy faces up to five years in county jail when he is sentenced on Feb. 24, Soares said.

Navarrete, who has served more than 10 years with the sheriff’s office, was arrested on Oct. 2 as a result of an investigation that started before the late August death of 31-year-old Michael Tyree, sheriff’s officials said.

Navarrete posted bail soon after his arrest, prosecutors said.Jereh Lubrin, 28, Rafael Rodriguez, 27, and Matthew Farris, 27, have pleaded not guilty to the murder and are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 29.

Navarrete was injured during a softball game on July 14 while he was off the clock and filed a claim that he was injured on the job, Soares said.

A coworker knew the Navarrete was hurt outside of work and notified a supervisor, who then told investigators, Soares said.

Navarrete needed to undergo surgery on his left elbow as a result of the injury, according to Soares.

Soares said the case against Navarrete was “very strong.””His coworker did the right thing and that’s what made the difference,” Soares said.

Navarrete’s attorney, Patrick Valencia, did not return requests for comment today.

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