Daly City councilwoman may lose seat

If a Daly City councilwoman charged with 15 counts of felony insurance fraud is convicted, she will have to step down from elected office, according to the city attorney.

Two-term Councilwoman Maggie Gomez is charged with insurance fraud, false claims and attempted perjury after she allegedly filed false workers’ compensation insurance claims with Seton Medical Center — her employer — saying she could not sit or stand for long periods of time following an injury in 2005.

City Attorney Rose Zimmerman said Daly City follows state law, which requires elected officials convicted of a felony to resign from office.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said by law, elected officials must step down.

“And it’s logical,” he said. “We don’t need felons or convicted felons in elected positions.”

Gomez said she would not answer questions about the case or the possibility of running for re-election when contacted by The Examiner.

Calls to Gomez’s attorney Michael Rains were not returned.

The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office said it investigated the claims after anonymous tips that the councilwoman may have been stretching the truth about the compensation documents she filed. Her seat is up for election in November.

Gomez pleaded not guilty Dec. 1 to the charges, including eight counts of false insurance claims, five counts of false statements and two attempts of perjury. She is due back in San Mateo County Superior Court on Jan. 27.

Wagstaffe said elected officials are most often convicted of misdemeanors. He also said charges are most likely related to another aspect of the elected official’s life, not because they are in public office.

Former Belmont City Councilman Bill Dickenson was arrested and convicted for beating his ex-girlfriend in 2008. Dickenson served 20 days in jail, but he did not lose his council seat because it was a misdemeanor conviction. Dickenson, however, did not seek re-election in 2009 and left the City Council this month.

Insurance mess

Daly City Councilwoman Maggie Gomez has been charged with 15 counts of felony insurance fraud.

8 counts of making false insurance claims
5 counts of making false statements
2 counts of attempted perjury

Source: San Mateo District Attorney’s Office

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