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Ex-cop pleads guilty to two counts of work comp fraud, pays $70,000 in restitution

Those men and women who serve as police officers here in the state of California deserve our utmost appreciation for their hard and dangerous work. In fact, it's important to understand that due to the inherently strenuous nature of their job, many of these police officers are susceptible to a multitude of serious and altogether debilitating work injuries.

The unfortunate truth, however, is that police officers, just like many other employees, can sometimes make poor decisions concerning their work injuries and the receipt of workers' compensation benefits.

To illustrate, consider a recent case out of Ventura County, where a 28-year-old former police officer was charged with workers' compensation fraud back in 2011 after prosecutors say he lied about the severity of a back injury.

According to court records, Edward I., then an officer with the Oxnard Police Department, went to a supervisor on Dec. 29, 2009 claiming to have suffered a back injury while bending over at his locker. Due to his pain and limited mobility, he was placed on temporary total disability status and received disability benefits from the city for several months.

However, during the time that Edward I. was supposedly injured, investigators observed him playing baseball on a weekly basis in an adult league. Furthermore, he was also allegedly informing both his treating physicians and physical therapists during this timeframe that he was too hurt to resume working as a police officer.

In June 2011, Edward I. was arrested and charged with two counts of work comp fraud. While he ultimately accepted a favorable plea bargain, his attorney still maintains that he is innocent, and nothing more than the victim of bad medical advice, which indicated that he could play baseball as a way of strengthening his ailing back.

At a hearing held just yesterday, Edward I. pleaded guilty to the charges and was ordered to pay $70,000 in restitution to the state, which he promptly paid via check. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for mid June, but both sides already believe he likely will not receive a harsh sentence given the circumstances.

"He's lost his whole career and had to move his family out of state and picked up a new career. This is all he wanted to be: a police officer," said his attorney.

Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense law ...

Workers compensation fraud/employee fraud is a very serious crime. If you suspect that such a crime has been perpetrated against your organization, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced workers' comp defense attorney.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Names have been withheld to protect the identity of the parties.

Source:

The Ventura County Star, "Former Oxnard police officer pleads guilty to workers' compensation fraud," Raul Hernandez, March 25, 2013

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