December 23, 2013
A Florida rural carrier employed with an upholstery company covered up more than just furniture. While receiving Office of Workers’ Compensation Program (OWCP) payments for an on-the-job U.S. Postal Service injury, the carrier fraudulently concealed from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) the income received from her upholstery job. In November 2011, the Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a data analysis of periodic roll claimants in the Gulf Atlantic District to identify individual subjects who may be exceeding their medical restrictions. The review identified the rural carrier.
The carrier claimed an on-the-job injury in May 2011 for a right wrist sprain. In December, she returned to full-duty. In March 2012, the carrier submitted paperwork to postal management advising that she could not perform her assigned duties due to her previously reported injury. The carrier was accepted onto the DOL OWCP periodic rolls and began receiving Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA) benefits.
Through surveillance, Internet reconnaissance, and undercover sales transactions, OIG special agents substantiated the carrier’s work involvement at an upholstery business. Agents determined that the carrier submitted nine OWCP Forms CA-7, Claims for Compensation, and one OWCP Form EN-1032, Annual Income Update, in order to be eligible to receive continuation of pay and FECA benefit payments. On each form, the carrier was required to report any employment she had undertaken or income she had earned outside of her federal employment with the Postal Service. Upon submission of each form, the carrier failed to disclose any earned income or wages acquired through her employment at the upholstery company.
In January 2013, the carrier was indicted by a federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida for False Statements to receive OWCP benefits and Theft of Government Funds. Postal management removed the carrier from employment effective September 2013, and she pleaded guilty to one count each of the above charges. The DOL OWCP terminated the carrier’s claim payments on October 21, 2013, resulting in a $1,293,533 cost avoidance to the Postal Service. Sentencing is scheduled for January 2014.