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California officer going to jail for workers' compensation fraud

Employers can not monitor their workers 24 hours a day. Even police officers have time off duty wherein they are free to live their lives as they so choose. What they or other workers are not free to do, however, is claim that they have been injured on the job in order to collect benefits when such details are untrue. Workers' compensation fraud is subject to prosecution in California and all other states. One police officer recently  learned that the hard way.

The officer claimed he injured his back in a traffic collision while on duty. The 28-year-old filed a workers' compensation claim related to the alleged incident in 2014. Afterward, he took periodic leaves of absence which he claimed were related to his case. 

At some point, the officer's superiors opened an investigation concerning his situation. In May 2016, he was placed on mandatory leave without pay and formal charges were filed against him the next month. Officials say the man had claimed to be unable to work due to his injuries, but was seen participating in heavy weight lifting competitions on more than one occasion. A spokesperson for the District Attorney's office also stated that the officer took part in a form of Russian wrestling. Such activities were reportedly captured on video and in photographs.

The situation was resolved when a judge sentenced the officer to 120 days in jail, to be followed by a five-year probation. Workers' compensation fraud is a serious issue that can greatly impact business success. Any California employer who suspects an employee of filing a fraudulent claim may seek experienced guidance to help rectify the situation.

Source:, "Santa Barbara Cop Sentenced to Jail For Workers Compensation Fraud", Sam Goldman, Sept. 23, 2016

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