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Former police officer convicted of employee fraud in California

When it comes to legal matters, details always play an important role, but this is especially true in a workers' compensation matter. Whether an injured worker is legally entitled to benefits will depend upon the extent of the worker's injury, as well as whether pre-existing conditions are present. It turns out that a former police officer in California lied about prior injuries when he filed his workers' compensation claim, which resulted in him being convicted of employee fraud.

The police officer had previously filed a claim for benefits following an alleged back injury he sustained while working. The man claimed that his back injury kept him from bending, twisting and walking without the assistance of a cane. The officer claimed that he even needed help with normal everyday activities, such as dressing and washing. The State Compensation Insurance Fund processed the workers' compensation claim.

Authorities became suspicious after the California Highway Patrol's Internal Affairs Workers' Compensation Fraud Unit began to investigate the officer's case. Investigators found that the officer had not only neglected to disclose but had also attempted to conceal a prior motor vehicle accident in which he suffered a back injury. Apparently, the man had filed an amended claim in order to alter the date of the prior accident.

Also, investigators were able to record video footage of the man walking normally without help of a cane in his front yard. The video appeared to show the man bending and twisting with ease. The officer also pounded stakes into his front yard in order to mount a flag. This evidence played a significant role in convicting the man.

The former California police officer is set to be sentenced for employee fraud in late January. This case illustrates the possibility of employees being less than truthful in filing for benefits via workers' compensation. Therefore, if an employer suspects an employee is lying about his or her injury, the employer has the right to further investigate the matter and pursue legal action against the employee's fraudulent claim.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Former CHP officer convicted in workers' comp insurance fraud case", Cathy Locke, Dec. 18, 2014

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