A Maryland rural letter carrier, who began receiving federal workers’ compensation benefits in 2001 after an on-the-job injury to her head and neck, was also operating a fitness center, day spa, and salon from January 2005 through December 2011. Investigators from the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) and Department of Labor OIG determined that the letter carrier, who claimed she was unable to work due to her disability and filed yearly Office of Workers’ Compensation Program (OWCP) claim forms to that effect, reported to the salon on a regular basis.
Through surveillance, interviews of employees, and the use of an undercover scenario, whereby a female agent received a pedicure from the carrier at the facility, the investigation determined that the carrier performed physical acts beyond her claimed limitations, including demonstrating the use of the fitness equipment, performing pedicures, and giving massages.
On March 27, 2013, a Chief U.S. District Court Judge sentenced the carrier to five months in prison followed by five more in home detention, plus three years of supervised release after being convicted of two counts of making false statements to obtain federal disability benefits. The judge further ordered her to make restitution in an amount to be determined at a future hearing.