Former City of Santa Clara police officer Kenneth Henderson has pleaded not guilty to charges of workers’ comp fraud. The 53-year-old appeared in a Santa Clara County courthouse on Feb. 5 to face the charges and enter his “not guilty” plea.
Deputy District Attorney Vonda Tracey says if Henderson is convicted, he will likely spend some time in county jail and receive probation. Henderson will also be asked to pay back nearly $30,000 in disability payments to the City of Santa Clara as well as medical and legal expenses. In cases like this, Tracey says the amount owed in restitution is connected to the date it was first discovered the injured worker was lying about his or her recovery.
“The bigger issue is the investigation helps the City avoid a bigger settlement,” said Tracey.
Tracey says if it had not been discovered, it could have cost the City of Santa Clara more than $100,000.
According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office, Henderson was injured on Oct. 18, 2015 while picking up a stack of traffic cones. The injury eventually forced Henderson to go on permanent disability and he retired from the Santa Clara Police Department in 2016. At that time, he was receiving disability payments from the City of Santa Clara and continued to do so until his arrest.
The District Attorney’s office began investigating Henderson on July 29, 2019, when an insurance carrier spotted him completing “rigorous workouts” at a 24 Hour Fitness Center in Las Vegas. Henderson was also reportedly competing as a bodybuilder.
When investigators looked at his insurance records and medical records, they found a much different story. One doctor told investigators, “Henderson’s presentation during medical appointments was like that of a stroke victim.”
Henderson’s workout was caught on surveillance video by someone who was investigating his wife, Mandy Henderson, for workers’ compensation insurance fraud. Mandy Henderson worked with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department and was receiving disability pay at the time. She was also competing as a bodybuilder.
Mandy Henderson was arrested and pleaded “no contest” to a felony charge of making a false claim in July 2019. She was sentenced to six months of house arrest, three years of probation and ordered to pay restitution.
“Those involved in this type of fraud are stealing from a system intended to help law enforcement officers who are seriously injured while protecting the public,” said Tracey.
Kenneth Henderson is expected back in court at the end of March.