Washington Pursues Criminal Charges Against Employees who “Steal” Benefits

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) issued two news releases in the last month about prosecuting employees for defrauding the state of workers’ compensation benefits. In one case, the employee filed a claim with L&I in 2000 and received more than $39,000 in benefits before an anonymous tip led L&I investigators to the employee, who was working at an orchard. In the other case, an employee pleaded guilty to second-degree theft for wrongfully accepting more than $71,000 in vocational and cash benefits. The employee received the benefits for an allegedly disabling back injury in 2007, but was found to have returned to work in 2009, while continuing to accept workers’ compensation benefits. Hard to say whether these incidents reflect a trend, but they do make clear that in Washington, L&I will affirmatively pursue employees who steal workers compensation benefits. http://www.lni.wa.gov/news/default.asp#3


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