Human Resources News & Insights

Riding a workers’ comp claim – straight to jail!

Horseback riding and total disability benefits just don’t mix.

A reminder to those receiving workers’ compensation benefits: Employers are watching you.

And if you’re caught abusing the system, it could mean hefty fines and jail time.

Karina Beard, a former U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employee, is now out $81,694 and must spend a year in jail followed by three years supervised release after pleading guilty to two counts of workers’ compensation fraud.

From October 2006 through January 2009, Beard was employed by the USPS. She was receiving workers’ compensation benefits for an on-the-job shoulder injury.

Due to the injuries she claimed, physical restrictions were placed on her activities: no reaching, no pushing, no pulling and no driving for more than 20 minutes.

During an investigation by the USPS Office of Inspector General, Beard was caught performing activities that required her to use her injured shoulder: horseback riding, caring for horses and yard work.

Last fall, Beard plead guilty to two counts of workers’ comp fraud, as well as four counts of mail fraud.

She was accused of making false claims on a workers’ comp form. All workers on federal workers’ comp are sent a questionnaire that asks claimants if they’ve had any changes in employment or earnings, or changes in their medical condition over the previous 15 months. Those who’ve experience such changes may have their workers’ comp payments reduced or terminated.

Beard has been ordered to pay the $81K in restitution and begin serving her prison sentence on Feb. 12, according to a report by KSEE 24 News.

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  • Jackie

    I know someone doing the same thing