Spokane restaurateur accused of defrauding L&I
The co-owner of a Spokane restaurant faces felony fraud charges for allegedly bilking the state of nearly $250,000 in workers’ compensation money between 2003 and 2011.
Wanitta Racicot, 69. is accused of claiming she suffered on-the-job injuries to both hands in 2001 that left her unable to work at her business, the Broadway Bar & Grill, 1811 W. Broadway Ave.
The state Department of Labor & Industries asserts she received $249,267 in compensation, even while she continued to work and perform duties at the business.
The compensation paid to Racicot covered lost wages from March 2003 to August 2011, a press release said.
Racicot is expected to enter a plea next week in Spokane County Superior Court.
L&I investigators started re-examining her case when it raised red flags during a review of her circumstances.
Investigators reportedly went to the business in north Spokane and found Racicot carried groceries, scrubbed the bar counter and bused heavy dishes and did other tasks at the business during the time she claimed a disability.
Former Broadway Bar & Grill workers told the investigator that Racicot had been working at the restaurant for more than five years starting in 2001, the press release said.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $20,000.