Human Resources News & Insights

‘I won’t be in today; I have jury duty again’

Some employees will do anything to get out of work. But a postal worker used a rather elaborate scam – twice – to collect nearly $40,000 for not working.

You know it can be a real inconvenience when an employee has to serve jury duty. It’s difficult to replace key employees, even for short periods.

HRB guesses Joseph Winstead’s bosses must not have missed him much.

Winstead played hooky from his U.S. Postal Service job for 144 days, defrauding the government out of more than $38,900, according to The Washington Post.

Winstead was actually called for federal jury duty. But there were days the jury was excused.

He reportedly told his supervisor for months that he was still serving on the jury when he’d been dismissed before the trial even started. He went to the trouble to fabricate paperwork to support his reimbursement claims.

And no one caught up with him until he got another jury duty summons and he started the scam all over again a couple years later.

Winstead pleaded guilty, will repay the wages and may serve an 8- to 14-month prison term.

A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service says, “The system worked.” (But only after he scammed his employer a second time!)

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