Runner cashing in on workers' comp faces jail time after competing in race

While allegedly cashing in on workers’ compensation benefits from The City, a former Laguna Honda Hospital worker competed in a daunting 7-mile footrace in the Marin Headlands, according to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

Emily Hegner, 34, of Daly City is facing 10 felony charges, including five counts of workers’ compensation insurance fraud and one count of grand theft, for allegedly lying about injuries she claimed to have sustained while on the job, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Hegner, who worked for the Department of Public Health, claimed she injured her lower back, left hip and right wrist while working at Laguna Honda Hospital.

Hegner reported “pain and difficulty walking distances” and claimed she needed to use a cane and wrist splint due to the work-related injury, prosecutors said.

However, investigators with the California Department of Insurance discovered that Hegner had finished the trail run in Marin County on April 12, 2008.

“At the time she did the run, she was receiving benefits,” Assistant District Attorney Seth Steward said.

And it was no easy run. The 7-mile race was one of three events offered during the annual Muir Woods Marathon. It has runners scaling the notoriously challenging Dipsea Trail.

The 7-mile course starting at Stinson Beach “climbs steadily to reach 1,800 feet” within the first 3 miles, according to Race 360, a runners’ resource website.

According to race results published online, a participant named Emily Hegner finished 12th in her age group, and 132nd out of 176th overall. She finished in the time of 1 hour, 48 minutes, and 6 seconds.

Six days after the race, Hegner allegedly visited her doctor while using her cane and requested a handicap placard, according to court documents.

“She failed to disclose to her doctor that she had run in the race,” prosecutors said.

Hegner, also known as Emily Everett, faces a maximum of nine years eight months in state prison if convicted, Steward said.

After an arrest warrant was issued, Hegner turned herself in to authorities March 9, one day before her arraignment, Steward said.

She posted $120,000 bail and was released from custody, prosecutors said.

A call for comment from Hegner’s attorney was not returned before press time.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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