Fugitive who taunted DA on Twitter charged with failing to appear in court

Wanda Podgurski convicted in fraud scam

SAN DIEGO - A woman who fled after being convicted in an insurance and disability fraud scam, taunting San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis on Twitter before her capture in Mexico, pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony charge of failing to appear in court while on bail.

Wanda Lee Ann Podgurski, 60, was ordered to remain jailed without bail.

Podgurski was convicted in January of 29 felony counts related to the insurance and disability scam, in which she faked injuries and collected payments of more than $650,000 from insurance companies.

Authorities said Podgurski traveled around the world at a time when she was supposedly disabled.

Podgurski -- who was out of custody on $500,000 bail during her two-month trial -- failed to show up when the verdict was read in her case in January. She was sentenced in absentia last month to 20 years and four months in state prison.

She was arrested last week in Rosarito, Mexico, after posting a Twitter message saying "Catch me if you can" to Dumanis.

"I can't tell you at this time if that played any role in her apprehension," Deputy District Attorney Sherry Thompson said outside court Monday.

Podgurski faces an additional two years and eight months in prison if convicted of the latest charges.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments