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Sheriff bilks salary while fraudulently claiming health problems

When a person is injured or ill and it not capable of working, he or she may request time away from work so they can focus on gaining their health. During that time, some employers offer a form of short or long term disability so the employee can still collect a portion -- or in some cases 100% -- of their wages. While on medical leave it is expected that the worker is at home convalescing and not attempting to collect wages elsewhere.

It is important for California employees to understand that lying about his or her ability to work and deliberately hiding another job is a serious crime called employee fraud.

This scenario recently played out in Massachusetts when a city's sheriff requested medical leave. It was later revealed that the sheriff was working an additional job as a real estate agent while she was collecting a full salary from the city.

Reports indicate that the 67-year-old woman requested a medical leave in June of this year because her health condition prevented her from performing the duties required for her position. In September, the woman requested an extended leave and filled out a form that certified that she is not only unable to work in any capacity but is also not working anywhere else.

By lying to her employer (and the taxpayers who provided her salary), the sheriff "presented a fraudulent claim to her employer." She is scheduled to be arraigned later this month.

It is unknown whether or not the woman's initial health problems were due to her employment or if they were even legitimate claims in the first place. Nevertheless, many workers here in California or throughout the country falsely claim that they were injured on the job in order to collect income. Such claims cost employers thousands of dollars.

Source: Wicked Local, "Sheriff's office employee faces fraud charges," Nathan Lamb, Dec. 1, 2012

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