MANATEE -- A 68-year-old woman charged with worker's comp fraud was granted bond by a Manatee County judge Thursday afternoon.
Janet Heffington is facing charges of worker's compensation fraud and perjury for allegedly filling a claim despite having a pre-existing condition.
Manatee County Judge Gilbert Smith set bonds totaling $1,000. Heffington has the option to a supervised release program.
Heffington was a property clerk at the Manatee County jail when she filed her worker's comp claim. She was terminated in March 2011 after nearly four years with the department.
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The wheelchair-bound Heffington did not address the court. Attorney Gregory Hagopain was in the courtroom on her behalf. He expressed concern Heffington had been forced to spend the night in jail because bond had not been set on one of her charges despite the judge signing an arrest warrant with bond set at $500.
Hagopain requested bond be set at $500 per count citing her ties to the community.
"She is anything but a flight risk," Hagopain said.
Hagopain also stressed to the judge her only prior arrest was a 2011 arrest for charges of exploiting an el
derly person out of more than $100,000. Charges, however, were never formally filed by the State Attorney's Office due to a lack of evidence.
The 2011 charges alleged Heffington befriended an 88-year-old widow with dementia in her condominium complex and gained her trust to get power of attorney set up a joint account. Then when the elderly woman went to live at an assisted living facility.
The fraud allegations were reported to the Adult Protection Services by the family of the victim.
Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.