Green Room

Fugitive tweets “Catch me if you can,” feds use CATCH to make her wish come true

posted at 9:54 am on July 9, 2013 by

File this under Stupid Criminal Tricks.  Wanda Podgurski skipped the country rather than face trial for insurance fraud, and then taunted the government to catch her.  An investigative team with the ironic acronym CATCH used her Twitter data to do just that:

“Catch me if you can.”

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said Wanda Podgurski sent that taunting tweet after skipping trial in January while facing charges of insurance of fraud.

But then authorities did catch her.

Podgurski, 60, was captured on the Fourth of July in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, a popular retirement spot for American expatriates only 15 miles south of San Diego. She pleaded not guilty Monday to failure to appear while free on bail. …

The district attorney’s office declined to say how authorities tracked down Podgurski, saying only that information from the Twitter account was turned over to its Computer and Technology Crime High-Tech Response Team, known by the acronym Catch.

Now that’s she’s back, she faces more than 20 years in prison and $1 million in fines, having been convicted in absentia from the trial she skipped. Hope she enjoyed Mexico, because that’ll be the last vacation she has for a while.

Update: I used the wrong name for the fugitive. My apologies for the error, which has now been fixed.

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Bonnie Dumais skipped the country

I might be misreading this, but I think you have the wrong name there- the fugative was Podgurski. Dumais is the DA.

Komsomoletz on July 9, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Hey Ed…

Second sentence should read “Wanda Podgurski skipped the country”, and not Bonnie Dumais.

;)

Shepherd Lover on July 9, 2013 at 10:10 AM

File this under Stupid Criminal Tricks. Bonnie Dumais skipped the country rather than face trial for insurance fraud, and then taunted the government to catch her. An investigative team with the ironic acronym CATCH used her Twitter data to do just that:

Ed, according to the article, Bonnie Dumais is the DA for San Diego, not the perp.

March Hare on July 9, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Now, is this part of Prism, or did they actually ask Twitter for the data? And if they did ask, did they ask while holding a warrant (which should have been easy to acquire, since she’s already been convicted)? Or did Twitter just volunteer the information because they love cooperating with the government?

Chris of Rights on July 9, 2013 at 10:17 AM

I think it would be better to leave her in a jail in Mexico, that would teach her a lesson.

In fact, we should pay Mexico to take our prisoners, it would be cheaper and put real fear in our potential criminals.

Export our criminals, and reduce our deficit…a win-win.

right2bright on July 9, 2013 at 10:18 AM

The district attorney’s office declined to say how authorities tracked down Podgurski, saying only that information from the Twitter account was turned over to its Computer and Technology Crime High-Tech Response Team, known by the acronym Catch.

PRISM

BDU-33 on July 9, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Yay, FedGov is so awesome you guys!

SirGawain on July 9, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Yay, FedGov is so awesome you guys!

SirGawain on July 9, 2013 at 10:39 AM

The national government wasn’t involved in this. It was a local hi-tech task force.

GWB on July 9, 2013 at 10:59 AM

The district attorney’s office declined to say how authorities tracked down Podgurski

The idiot probably tweeted from a mobile device, which would be very easy to track.

UltimateBob on July 9, 2013 at 11:11 AM

The district attorney’s office declined to say how authorities tracked down Podgurski, saying only that information from the Twitter account was turned over to its Computer and Technology Crime High-Tech Response Team, known by the acronym Catch.

PRISM

BDU-33 on July 9, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Given Twitter is one of the few companies that didn’t sign onto PRISM and CATCH is a San Diego County entity, my money is on the San Diego County DA doing things the old-fashioned way; getting a relatively-narrow warrant from a judge, going to Twitter with it, and getting the relatively-narrow information authorized by the warrant.

Steve Eggleston on July 9, 2013 at 11:13 AM

nannee nannee boo… um, who is it?

good story Ed

DanMan on July 9, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Doopit crimnals.

44Magnum on July 9, 2013 at 11:19 AM

Very bold. I wonder if she commit other crimes that went undetected.

Blake on July 9, 2013 at 12:14 PM

commit = committed

Blake on July 9, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Given Twitter is one of the few companies that didn’t sign onto PRISM and CATCH is a San Diego County entity, my money is on the San Diego County DA doing things the old-fashioned way; getting a relatively-narrow warrant from a judge, going to Twitter with it, and getting the relatively-narrow information authorized by the warrant.

Steve Eggleston on July 9, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Luddites.

Fenris on July 9, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Behold Wanda, a prime example of the new era of the entitled narcissist…brought to us by the 60′s “Cultural Revolution!”

Lord help us all!

Liberty or Death on July 9, 2013 at 1:01 PM

How does CTCHTRT spell catch?

The Schaef on July 9, 2013 at 1:18 PM

How does CTCHTRT spell catch?

The Schaef on July 9, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Computer and Technology Crime High-Tech Response Team -> CaTCH Response Team
(“High-Tech” is one word.)

GWB on July 9, 2013 at 2:00 PM

I’d probably skip too – if the prosecutor was a Dumass.

Adjoran on July 9, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Yay, FedGov is so awesome you guys!

yep, she was an AMTRAK employee on disability that got caught by the private insurance companies she also defrauded.

DanMan on July 9, 2013 at 2:52 PM

I’d probably skip too – if the prosecutor was a Dumass.

Adjoran on July 9, 2013 at 2:38 PM

The thought would at least cross my mind.

MelonCollie on July 9, 2013 at 11:57 PM