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Postal worker guilty of employee fraud after false injury claim

The Office of the Inspector General recently said that fraudulent medical-related claims in the U.S. Postal Service forms part of an increasing number of fraud cases in California and elsewhere. A worker was recently found guilty of making false statements in order to obtain benefits. This followed a case of a postal worker who committed employee fraud over a period of seven years.

It was reported that the worker had been under surveillance since 2010. The worker apparently failed to provide information about four car accidents in which she suffered injuries prior to claiming benefits for a work-related injury. She received almost $250,000 in benefits under the Federal Employees Compensation Act for what she claimed to have been a disabling workplace injury.

The defendant's first claim for disability was submitted in 2007, followed by submission of three more claims during the following two-and-a-half years. The disability benefits that she received were paid from 2007 through Jan. 2014. In addition, the plaintiff admitted to failure to disclose that she also collected food stamps between 2010 and 2012.

It was reported that the defendant denied claims of suffering injuries prior to being employed by the U.S. Postal Service as far back as 2012. She claimed that the work-related injury caused her inability to properly use her right hand and that she could not work for more than 20 minutes before taking a break. She asserted that she was unable to do shopping or engage in fun activities with her child. During the four years of surveillance, investigators reported observing the defendant doing all of these activities without showing any discomfort.

The 49-year-old postal worker pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing in February. She agreed to owe the government an amount of $245,000 for food stamps and benefits that she obtained illegally. The maximum sentence she may face is five years. While injured workers deserve to receive compensation for work-related injuries, California employers who have been the victims of employee fraud retain the right to take legal action, and a consultation with an experienced attorney may be beneficial.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Postal worker health fraud rises as mail volume falls", Michael Dresser, Dec. 27, 2014

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