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Price is wrong for postal employee accused of work comp fraud

Many employees who suffer serious and debilitating injuries during the course and scope of their employment are fortunate to be able to turn to the workers' compensation system for the financial assistance they need to get them through a difficult period in their lives.

Unfortunately, there are always employees looking to take advantage of the work comp system, committing employee fraud by either faking or exaggerating the extent of their injuries in order to collect benefits.

To illustrate, consider a recent work comp fraud case out of North Carolina involving a purportedly injured federal employee, a cruise ship and a popular television game show.

Reports indicate that Cathy C. -- a postal carrier with the U.S. Postal Service -- has been collecting federal work comp benefits since 2004, when she suffered a shoulder injury on the job that she claimed left her unable to lift mail trays into a truck.

However, federal investigators eventually became suspicious of the extent of Cathy C.'s work injuries and began conducting an investigation as to whether she was committing work comp fraud.

Investigators ultimately uncovered that she went on a cruise with her husband back in 2010 and went ziplining as part of the vacation package. Furthermore, investigators also observed her lifting and moving heavy furniture, and carrying multiple grocery bags in both arms on multiple occasions in 2011.

As if this wasn't enough, the investigators uncovered footage from a September 2009 episode of "The Price is Right," in which Cathy C. can plainly be seen spinning the game show's "big wheel" twice. Specifically, she was observed "rais[ing] her left arm above her head and gripp[ing] the handle with her left hand" on the first spin and "rais[ing] both arms above her head and gripp[ing] the same handle with both hands" on the second spin.

Cathy C. was officially charged with work comp fraud by federal prosecutors this past fall. In the indictment, she is accused of intentionally lying on work comp paperwork filled out in September 2011 by claiming that she was unable to stand, sit squat, climb, bend, reach or grasp.

She pleaded guilty to the charges against her on Monday and is now scheduled for sentencing in September 2013.

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. Names have been withheld to protect the identity of the parties.

Source: WRAL, "'Price is Right' run foils postal carrier's workers' comp claim," May 3, 2013

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