A former U.S. Postal Service employee has been sentenced to probation for collecting workers’ compensation payments while training for a new job. The Washington Post reports that Da’Mon Price of Maryland was out of work for an injury he sustained while working as a USPS worker, but he was training to be a Metro bus driver while receiving the payments. He will pay nearly $3,000 in restitution for theft of government money .
While about 85% of workers’ comp claims are due to slips and falls, The Washington Post reports that Price was deemed “totally incapacitated” as a result of a back injury. He was then ordered by his doctor to stop working while he recovered.
But his stories did not line up.
Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel told The Washington Post that Price started working at Metro in January. However, he told his former USPS employer that he was resigning to go back to school. Once investigators began taking a closer look at the situation, he told them that he resigned due to doctor’s orders.
“Those who unlawfully collect workers’ compensation benefits undermine the integrity of the government assistance program and cause funds to be diverted from people who truly need them,” said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Christopher Iu in a statement to Workers Compensation. “The indictment of this postal worker sends a message that workers’ compensation fraud is a serious crime with serious consequences.”
While the abuse of workers’ compensation funding by government employees is not necessarily common, the federal government does take it seriously.
“The majority of postal employees who collect compensation benefits have legitimate claims. A small percentage, however, abuse the system and cost the Postal Service millions of dollars in fraudulent claims and enforcement costs,”Paul L. Bowman, of the Inspector General’s office, told The Washington Post. “Therefore, United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General Special Agents will continue to relentlessly pursue those identified as fraudulently collecting workers’ compensation funds from the Postal Service.”