Ocala, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that George Utley (56, Oklahoma City, OK) has pleaded guilty to receiving stolen government property (Department of Labor disability benefit payments). Utley faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. He has also agreed to a forfeiture money judgment of $732,459.46, representing the value of the stolen funds. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement, Utley is a former mail handler for the United States Postal Service (USPS). In January 2009, Utley falsely claimed a job-related back injury to receive workers’ compensation disability benefits through the Department of Labor - Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (DOL-OWCP). The monthly payments ranged from approximately $2,600 (2011) to upwards of $3,300 (2019). These payments were the product of theft because Utley failed to truthfully report his prior accidents/injuries, his other sources of income and employment, and any improvements to his purported injury.

An investigation by the USPS – Office of Inspector General (OIG) revealed that Utley had falsely testified in a 2011 DOL deposition that he had never suffered a previous back injury or been in an automobile accident. Despite Utley’s allegations of tremendous, debilitating back pain, he had only received $14 worth of prescription pain medication during the 10-year benefit period. Utley also failed to report his other sources of income and employment—he had incorporated and operated a rubbish removal business for many years and had received monthly government housing assistance payments of $1,412 as the landlord for a property in Pennsylvania.

Recorded video surveillance captured Utley doing yard work at his Florida home, repeatedly lifting and carrying heavy items, working on a racecar, and hitching a flatbed car carrier, box trailer, and fifth-wheel RV to his truck. A search of Utley’s email account and Facebook postings revealed photographs of Utley’s vacations (Key West and the Grand Canyon) and extensive physical activity (weightlifting, bicycling, deep-sea fishing, etc.). Utley’s fraudulent activity resulted in him receiving $732,459.46 in disability benefit payments to which he was not entitled.

This case was investigated by the United States Postal Service – Office of the Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.

Read more

IMPORTANT – PLEASE NOTE: Complaints about the Postal Service – including lost, stolen, or mishandled mail – that are unrelated to the content on this page will not be posted. Please visit the Contact Us page for information on where to file formal complaints with our agency or the Postal Service.

Leave a comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.