OLYMPIA — A former small town police chief has been charged with fraud for collecting workers’ compensation benefits while working in the world of pinup models.
Brenda Lynn Cavoretto was police chief of Coulee City, Washington, in 2012 when a huge corpse fell on her during a police call, according to the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). She said this led to back, shoulder and abdominal injuries, and such severe psychological trauma she couldn’t work or be around other people, according to L&I. Her doctors prohibited her from returning to police work, according to her lawyers.
But state investigators said Thursday that Cavoretto was actually making money as a pinup model, wearing sexy clothes and posing in the style of Betty Grable.
Cavoretto, 47, of Gold Bar, Washington, faces two charges of making false or misleading statements to collect more than $67,000 in workers’ compensation benefits from the state.
There was no telephone listing for Cavoretto in Gold Bar, and social media pages for her business appeared to be disabled.
Lawyers with the Palace Law firm disputed L&I’s assertions in a news release, quoting one of her treating doctors, Dr. Owen Bargreen.
“There is a concern from the Department that she is acting in a fraudulent way. This is simply not the case, as it is something manufactured by the Department to have Brenda’s time loss taken from her, so they won’t need to pay her and will save themselves money,” Bargreen said in the release.
Cavoretto was injured eight years ago after a domestic violence suspect hanged himself in a barn. She tried to take down the body, but the 285-pound corpse fell on her. She started receiving workers’ compensation benefits in 2013.
Investigators found that from 2015 through early 2020, Cavoretto was photographing pinup models, organizing pinup pageants and fundraisers, and was often photographed herself under such names as Tuff As Nailz and The Black Widow Bettie.
Her lawyers say this was charity work done on a volunteer basis and that Cavoretto denies being paid for it.