Safety and OSHA News

‘Cathy Cashwell, come on down! You’re caught defrauding workers’ comp on the Price is Right!’

TV anchorman Dan Rather once wrote a book, “The Camera Never Blinks.” A former postal carrier collecting workers’ comp should have considered that before going on a TV game show.

Cathy Cashwell was a postal carrier in Fayetteville, NC. She suffered a shoulder injury at work in 2004 and claimed she could no longer lift mail trays into a truck as a result.

But in September 2009, she appeared on “The Price is Right” and spun the “big wheel” twice.

An indictment against Cashwell for fraud said while on the game show she “raised her left arm above her head and gripped the handle with her left hand.” On her second spin, she “raised both arms above her head and gripped the same handle with both hands.”

That’s not the only physical activity Cashwell was caught performing. She and her husband went ziplining on a cruise. She was also seen carrying furniture with both arms on two separate occasions.

Federal investigators say Cashwell knowingly lied on her workers’ compensation paperwork.

Now, Cashwell has pleaded guilty to fraud in federal court.

Her sentencing is in September.

Foiled by Facebook

Of course, TV isn’t the only medium on which people get caught trying to defraud the workers’ comp system.

You’ve probably read about cases in which photos on a person’s Facebook page prove they can perform physical activity they allegedly weren’t able to do at work which allowed them to collect workers’ comp.

Here’s a different twist on that. In this case, the person’s activity was on another business’ Facebook page.

Kelley Wheeler of Port Clinton, Ohio, was collecting wage loss benefits from workers’ comp. She had submitted payroll documents from Travelers Transport where she said she previously worked.

Only problem: The company never existed.

She also failed to report wages she earned from Purrfect Paws Grooming Boutique in Sandusky, Ohio. Authorities found out about her work at the pet grooming business through photos on the company’s Facebook page.

Wheeler pleaded guilty to one count of workers’ comp fraud. She has to repay more than $61,000 she collected from the state and was placed on community control for five years.

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