SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — A Southland woman faces nearly two dozen felony counts of insurance and workers' compensation fraud for taking images from the Internet to bolster a lawsuit filed against McDonald's for second-degree burns to her hand from spilled coffee, authorities said Monday.
Selena Edwards, 38, of Victorville, was taken into custody on 21 felony counts, including submitting a fraudulent insurance claim, false statements and false evidence associated with an alleged fraudulent claim, according to California Department of Insurance officials.
A criminal complaint (PDF) filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court states that in January of 2013, Edwards claimed hot coffee spilled on her right hand when she was handed a cup of coffee with an unsecured lid at a McDonald's drive-thru.
Edwards submitted an injury claim with photos of a hand with second-degree burns as well as counterfeit documentation for treatment that she claimed to have received from a local hospital, according to the complaint.
Detectives later discovered that some of the photos had been copied from a hospital website, according to state insurance officials.
"By copying legitimate burn photos from the Internet, Edwards attempted to make a profit from another person's pain and suffering and for this she will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law," Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said.
Edwards was released on her own recognizance and is due in court Monday afternoon for a preliminary hearing.
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