Fugitive Tweets 'Catch Me if You Can.' Authorities Comply
A fugitive fraud defendant who fled to Mexico after she taunted law enforcement through Twitter has been arrested, according to authorities.
Wanda Lee Ann Podgurski, 60, was on trial for insurance fraud in January when she suddenly failed to appear in court and a warrant was issued for her arrest, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.
"Podgurski claimed to be disabled after suffering a fall in her home and fraudulently collected more than half a million dollars from seven different insurance companies and a government agency," the DA's office said in a statement. Authorities said they determined that she was not disabled as she had claimed.
On June 5, the account linked to Podgurski tweeted, "Catch me if you can." A few weeks later, she was sentenced to more than 20 years in state prison after being convicted on 29 felony counts, even though she was not in court.
"The defendant taunted law enforcement during the time she was on the run, establishing a Twitter account and following only District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis," the DA's office said.
The account now follows 32 other Twitter accounts, nearly all of which are law enforcement agencies and personnel.
It tweeted several more times, including one tweet that said, "Help find me before I con anyone else…"
"The defendant in this case was brazen in both the large-scale fraud she committed and the way she mocked the criminal justice system," DA Bonnie Dumanis said in the statement. "Law enforcement, and in particular the U.S. Marshals and Fugitive Task Force, did a great job tracking the defendant and taking her into custody."
Independence Day was Podgurski's last day of freedom as she was arrested in Mexico by the Fugitive Task Force and brought back to the US. She was arraigned on Monday and is being held without bail, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department website.
The district attorney's office said today that they could not comment on how they found Podgurski.