Jockey Sentenced in California Insurance Scam

A jockey was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to pay $30,000 in restitution after California investigators found he purposely fell off his mounts to collect disability benefits.

Carlos Cristo, 31, of Santa Ana, Calif., pleaded guilty to workers' compensation fraud and was sentenced to 60 days under house arrest, the California Department of Insurance said Monday.

Cristo, a rider at Los Alamitos Race Course, was arrested in May. His purported injuries date back to December 1994, when Cristo fell off his horse and injured his back. He filed for workers' compensation for the accident and received medical treatment.

Again in December 1997 and August 1998, he reported similar injuries and filed medical claims, according to an insurance department statement. After both incidents, he denied any prior injuries to his back, authorities said.

Cristo received disability benefits from two insurance companies as well as the Jockeys' Guild and a non-profit organization. He didn't report the money he received from the guild and the non-profit to the insurance companies.

The jockey allegedly lied about his job skills during a vocational rehabilitation interview and received about $50,000 in benefits for which he wasn't eligible, authorities said.