November 26, 2013
Postal managers at a North Carolina Post Office became suspicious when they heard that their customer services supervisor was working another job while being off work for an injury and receiving workers’ compensation payments. In August 2006, the customer services supervisor filed a CA-1 form, Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Compensation, after he was issued disciplinary action and downgraded to a clerk position. He claimed extreme stress at work because he was forced to drive for hours on an involuntary detail. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) accepted his claim for temporary aggravation of sleep apnea and placed him on the periodic roll in March 2007.
Upon being notified of management’s concerns, OIG special agents began an investigation and determined that the supervisor reported no income, employment, or volunteer activities on DOL Forms EN-1032 he signed in 2008 and 2009, while collecting OWCP payments. In April and May 2009, special agents interviewed employees at a performing arts center, who confirmed that the former supervisor and his wife cleaned the arts center while working for a maintenance company. The former supervisor was responsible for taking out the trash, cleaning the windows and bathrooms, vacuuming, mopping, and restocking supplies. Special agents observed him at the maintenance company owner’s residence doing odd jobs, such as loading construction debris and hauling it to a landfill. During an OIG interview, the former supervisor said he was helping his wife, who was employed by the maintenance company. In October 2009, he retired while under investigation.
The investigation resulted in the DOL OWCP issuing a determination of overpayment and forfeiture of $106,412 in May 2010 because the former supervisor failed to report his income and employment. His benefits were terminated, resulting in a cost avoidance of $1,232,699. In March 2012, the former supervisor was found guilty of one count of workers’ compensation fraud in U.S. District Court. On September 3, 2013, he was sentenced to 16 months in prison, followed by 3 years’ probation with supervised release. He was ordered to pay $106,412 in restitution to the Postal Service and DOL OWCP.