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Update: Another U.S. Postal employee facing work comp fraud charges

It is extremely important for all employers -- regardless of size or sector -- to remain hyper-vigilant when it comes to potentially fraudulent and frivolous work comp claims. In particular, one type of employee fraud that employers should constantly be on the lookout for is misrepresentations by an employee concerning the severity or symptoms of their work injury.

To illustrate, consider a case out of Turlock, California, where a federal employee was arrested last April 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 B. claimed to suffer a serious work injury and applied for federal work comp benefits. As a result of her alleged injury, certain physical restrictions that prevented her from performing her normal job duties went into effect. Specifically, medical professionals advised her not to reach, push, pull or drive for more than 20 minutes at a time.

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

Here, investigators discovered that during the aforementioned time period, Karina B. was engaging in activities - including horseback riding, yard work and driving - that were otherwise prohibited due to the severity of her injury.

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

On Monday, Karina B. was sentenced to one year in prison and three years of supervised release on two counts of federal work comp fraud and four counts of mail fraud. In addition, she was ordered to pay $81,694 in restitution.

She is scheduled to begin serving her federal prison sentence on February 16, 2012.

"Today's sentencing shows that our agency and the U.S. Attorney's Office will not tolerate abuse of the workers' compensation program and violators will be brought to justice," said Special Agent in Charge Nichole Cooper, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.

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.


KSEE News, "Postal worker gets prison sentence for workers' comp fraud" Jan. 9, 2012

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