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California postal worker nailed for workers' compensation fraud

The United States Postal Service human resources employee found it strange that the former postal worker he was coming to visit was never there whenever he went to see him at his home. The California man was, after all, collecting disability payments since 2000. The HR man's suspicions were aroused and justifiably so -- the never-at-home man was busy running a Domino's Pizza franchise, first in Sunnyvale and then in Honolulu. He will now need to sell about 18 thousand pizzas in order to cover the more than $150,000 he was ordered to pay back to the United States Department of Labor as part of his workers' compensation fraud conviction. Before he begins working on those pizzas, however, the 51-year-old man will need to finish serving 90 days in county jail.

While he was collecting benefits stemming from a work-related back injury in 2000, he allegedly filed yearly statements that certified he had not worked and was not involved on any form of business enterprise. In reality, the man had become the manager of the Sunnyvale Domino's Pizza in 2003 and also acted as an order taker, pizza maker, and delivery man. He sold the first franchise in 2008 and then bought another Domino's Pizza franchise in Honolulu where he was seen both working in the store and making pizza deliveries.

As a result of the human resource employee's suspicions, an investigation into the man's activities began in 2010. The investigation ended with an arraignment later that year. At his arraignment, the man's charges included 19 felonies and a count of grand theft.

In an official release, the San Francisco District Attorney referred to the funds recovered in the case as welcome news. The DA also said that public employees should be counted on to conduct themselves ethically and responsibly. While most employees -- either in the public or the private sectors -- do conduct themselves in an ethical and morally responsible manner, there will be occasions when unscrupulous individuals in California and elsewhere will have no qualms about attempting workers' compensation fraud. Any public or private business enterprise would do well to have a solid plan of action in place in order to defend against possible underhanded schemes enacted by those who may be capable of less than ethical behavior.

Source: Source: ktvu.com, "Former Postal employee convicted of workman's comp fraud," July 10, 2013

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