One day Emily Hegner was walking with a cane, and the next she was crossing the finish line of a challenging 7-mile footrace in the Marin Headlands.
Sounds like a hero’s feat, but prosecutors are calling Hegner a fit fraud.
The former health care worker at Laguna Honda Hospital allegedly faked her injuries to rake in workers’ compensation, saying she had difficulty walking. Hegner then had the gall to complete a tough 7-mile trail run that is part of the Muir Woods Marathon, which runs along the notoriously difficult Dipsea Trail, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office said.
Hegner, 34, was arrested following an investigation by the California Department of Insurance.
Prosecutors say she received medical treatment from July 2007 to September 2010 for injuries she claimed to have suffered while on the job. She said she injured her lower back, left hip and right wrist.
Hegner reported “pain and difficulty walking distances,” and claimed she needed to use a cane and wrist splint, due to a work-related injury, prosecutors said.
She completed the trail race on April 12, 2008, investigators said. According to race results published online by event organizers, a participant named Emily Hegner finished 12th in her age group, and 132nd overall, in the time of 1 hour, 48 minutes, and 6 seconds.
Six days after the race, Hegner visited her doctor using her cane and requested a handicap placard, according to court documents.
“She failed to disclose to her doctor that she had run in the race,” prosecutors said.
Hegner, also known as Emily Everett, pleaded not guilty last week to ten felonies in connection with the alleged lie, including five counts of workers’ compensation fraud and one count of grand theft, the District Attorney’s Office said.
She faces a maximum 9 year, 8 month state prison sentence if convicted of the charges.
Hegner was released from custody after posting $120,000 bail, prosecutors said.