Fugitive Who Tweeted 'Catch Me if You Can' Caught in Baja
Wanda Podgurski via the San Diego County District Attorney's office.

Fugitive Who Tweeted 'Catch Me if You Can' Caught in Baja

When you're on the run, it's probably best not to taunt law enforcement. It's sort of like pouring Worcestershire sauce on your head as you flee a ravenous pit bull.

But that's what authorities say Wanda Lee Ann Podgurski did to San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis with this tweet in June:

And so the saying, Don't try this at home, kids, has rarely been more true.

D.A. Dumanis, whose Twitter account was the only one followed by @wanda_podgurksi at the time, announced this week that Podgurski was nabbed in Rosarito, Mexico over the holiday weekend.

Yep, a fugitive task force collared her in Baja on the 4th of July, the D.A.'s office announced.

Podgurski, a onetime Manhattan Beach resident, was convicted in absentia June 21 of defrauding six insurance companies out of $664,555.15 after claiming a fall at home meant she could no longer work.

Prosecutors, however, submitted evidence that the 60-year-old was still running errands and even vacationing.

Fugitive Who Tweeted 'Catch Me if You Can' Caught in Baja
San Diego District Attorney's office

The San Diego D.A.'s office says that, while working as a $44,000-salary Amtrak employee in San Diego, Podgurski upped her employment disability coverage to the tune of $60,000 per year in premiums before claiming she couldn't work.

The payout potential on all those policies was a whopping $40,000 per month, prosecutors said.

So was it her Twitter account that gave Podgurski away? A D.A.'s spokesman said he couldn't tell us how they tracked her down.

Prosecutors did say they enlisted the help of SoCal's multi-agency Computer and Technology Crime High-Tech Response Team. Ultimately, though, it was federal authorities who grabbed Podgurski in Mexico.


The defendant in this case was brazen in both the large-scale fraud she committed and the way she mocked the criminal justice system. Law enforcement, and in particular the U.S. Marshals and Fugitive Task Force, did a great job tracking the defendant down and taking her into custody.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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