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Another U.S. Postal employee facing workers' compensation fraud charges

Unfortunately, employers of all sizes in all industries/sectors must remain vigilant when it comes to potentially fraudulent and frivolous work comp claims. In fact, one of the more common instances of this type of employee fraud is misrepresentations by the employee regarding the severity or symptoms of their injury.

Such was the case in Turlock, California, where a federal employee was arrested just last week after a federal grand jury handed down a 32-count indictment alleging 30 counts of mail fraud and two counts of workers' compensation fraud.

According to federal authorities, postal employee Karina Beard suffered a work injury back in 2000, and began receiving federal work comp benefits. As a result of her injury, certain physical restrictions that prevented her from performing some of her normal job duties went into effect.

Interestingly, a subsequent investigation by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General revealed that from October 2006 to January 2009, Beard, 44, received work comp benefits to which she was not entitled.

Specifically, investigators discovered that during the aforementioned time period, Beard was engaging in activities - including horseback riding - that were otherwise prohibited due to the severity of her injury.

(It is worth noting that Beard had previously completed questionnaires on a yearly basis confirming her purported disability.)

"[U.S. Postal Service] employees who seek to abuse the workers compensation program will be relentlessly pursued by USPS OIG special agents," said Nichole Cooper, special agent in charge.

If convicted on both work comp fraud charges, Beard faces up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

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.

Related Resources:

Turlock postal worker arrested on fraud charges (The Modesto Bee)

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