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California police officer guilty of felony workers' comp fraud

A California police officer will spend 120 days in jail after pleading guilty last week to two counts of felony workers' compensation insurance fraud. He will also have to pay $120,000 in restitution and is no longer employed by the police department.

The 28-year-old Oxnard, California, police officer had claimed to his supervisors that he had hurt his back so badly that he could not work. Even after his supervisors said he could switch to a desk job while he recovered, becuase that job would be less strenuous, the man still said his back pain prevented him from doing any work at all.

Not long after making these complaints, it came to the police department's attention that the man was playing on a  recreational baseball team while he was out on leave. It is not clear who alerted the police department to this fact, but the department was able to obtain videotape footage of the man running, sliding into bases, stepping up to bat and pitching. 

Of course, the fact that he could do those things means he was not actually hurt so badly that he could not work.

Although this story, in some ways, is rather humorous, the frequency with which incidents like these are perpetrated against employers all across the U.S. is not.

Fraudulent workers' compensation claims, meritless injury claims and other frivolous actions cost employers millions of dollars each year. Ultimately, we all pay the price, since companies must pass the expense along to us, the consumers.

Source: KTLA-TV, "Oxnard Police Officer Sentenced to Jail for Workers' Comp. Fraud," Mary Beth McDade, June 15, 2013

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