Federal: Evidence Letter Carrier Competed in Triathlons While on “Light Duty” Supported Conviction of Workers’ Comp Fraud

In a decision designated as unpublished, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a federal district court’s denial of a defendant’s motion for a judgment of acquittal under Fed. R. Crim. P. 29, finding that two of the defendant’s convictions for workers' compensation fraud were supported by sufficient evidence that she made false representations to her doctors, which caused them to submit false forms recommending that she remain on light duty even though she was capable of returning to her regular duties as a mail carrier.  The letter carrier sustained a back injury pulling a container of food out of the back of her postal vehicle. In the months following her injury, she saw several doctors who recommended that she be placed on light duty.  While the letter carrier was receiving treatments, she continued her long-standing practice of running in competitions and participating in triathlons. She also drove hundreds of miles to compete in the events, but did not tell her doctors or physical therapists that she was doing all of this. An investigation of the letter carrier’s activities led to an indictment and a jury conviction on three counts of workers' compensation fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1920.  The 11th Circuit Court held that the jury was entitled reasonably to infer that the letter carrier’s statements to her doctors falsely exaggerated her pain and other symptoms, causing them to submit what she knew to be false CA-17 forms. Her conviction on two of three counts was accordingly affirmed.

Reported by Thomas A. Robinson, J.D.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.

See United States v. Myers, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 25726 (11th Cir. Dec. 27, 2013) [2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 25726 (11th Cir., Dec. 27, 2013)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 39.03 [39.03]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

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