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Postal worker convicted of employee fraud

A decision to commit fraud is never a good idea. It can lead to serious legal problems in California, including time behind bars. A former U.S. Postal Service worker was recently convicted in an employee fraud case revolving around workers' compensation benefits.

The former postal employee will now be spending 18 months in prison after she was found guilty of committing workers' compensation fraud. Along with the prison sentence, the court also ordered the woman to pay back more than $240,000 in benefits she received from workers' compensation insurance and nutritional assistance programs. The woman pleaded guilty to the fraud charges in 2014 but was just recently sentenced at the end of March.

She is said to have filed a fraudulent claim for disability benefits in 2007. Apparently, she continued the scam for the next seven years until she was finally caught. The woman claimed injuries she suffered to her right arm and hand prevented her from being able to open doors, handle items, turn steering wheels or work longer than 20 minutes. Investigators witnessed the woman driving a vehicle and loading and unloading groceries while shopping by herself.

The U.S. Postal Service has been struggling to contain costs related to workers' compensation. These costs have increased over 36 percent between 2005 and 2014. Since taxpayers end up having to cover the costs of workers' compensation fraud committed by government employees, the punishments that follow a fraud conviction can be severe.

Employee fraud concerning workers' compensation benefits can also be detrimental to private businesses in California as well. Therefore, employers should be vigilant in keeping an eye on possible fraudulent claims for benefits. In some cases, legal action may be necessary in order to stop employees from fraudulently obtaining compensation benefits.

Source: federaltimes.com, "Postal Service worker sentenced in workers comp scam", Andy Medici, March 30, 2015

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