Rep. Mike Sturla fires staffer accused of insurance fraud

A long time staffer for Democratic State Representative Mike Sturla is fired after being charged with insurance fraud. Vanessa Rodriquez, 31, was charged by police last Monday.  According to court documents, Rodriquez reported a burglary at her Lancaster City home on January 4th. She told police that her back kitchen door had been forced open and $5,000 worth of items were stolen.

Later that month, Rodriquez’s room mate told investigators that the burglary never happened and Rodriquez had asked her to submit a list of allegedly stolen items so she could get more money from her insurance company. The room mate was offered $1,000 in return for a made up list, but the room mate refused.

Police also learned that in her claim to the insurance company, Rodriquez submitted a list of stolen items raising the total to $15,000. Investigators also learned that the kitchen door was damaged in the summer of 2013 and not at the time of the alleged burglary.

In an interview with Detectives Rodriquez admitted that the burglary was staged and never happened. She also admitted that the list of stolen items on the inventory to her insurance company were never in her house. Charges against Rodriquez include Insurance Fraud and Filing a False Report.

Today, Rep. Sturla released a statement announcing the firing of Rodriquez:

“I first heard yesterday about these serious allegations against an employee in my office, Vanessa Rodriguez. After looking into the matter further, I decided to terminate her employment earlier today.

Every constituent who visits or seeks help from my office must have confidence not just in me, but also the staff who work with me to serve the public. Trust and responsibility are essential in an office like ours. Unfortunately, based on what I know at this point, Ms. Rodriguez no longer met the standard for continued employment.”