Safety and OSHA News

Former police officer played baseball while on workers’ comp: He’s going to jail

A judge has sentenced a former police officer to jail after he pleaded guilty to workers’ comp fraud. Video showed him playing baseball.

Edward Idukas, a former Oxnard, CA, officer, had just come back to work in late 2009 from time off for an injury. On the day he returned to work, he told his supervisor he injured his back while bending over to tie his boot.

Idukas received disability payments from workers’ comp for his back injury. The police department offered him desk duty, but he said he was in too much pain to do even that.

Then, the Ventura County District Attorney’s office received tips that Idukas was playing baseball while out on disability.

The DA’s office investigated, and recorded video in May 2010 of Idukas pitching, running, catching, hitting and even sliding into base while playing adult league baseball.

Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to two counts of felony workers’ compensation insurance fraud. Now a judge has sentenced him to 120 days in jail and five years of probation. He must also pay $120,000 in restitution.

He no longer works for Oxnard Police.

Other ways to prove WC fraud

Authorities don’t always need video evidence to prove workers’ comp fraud and send a worker to prison.

Bryan Starcher pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of workers’ comp fraud in Ohio for working while receiving benefits.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation investigated after receiving a tip that Starcher had been working as a truck driver and a bar bouncer while receiving benefits for a workplace injury.

In this case, authorities used financial records and witness interviews to determine Starcher was working for a cement company and a bar while collecting temporary total disability benefits.

When authorities interviewed Starcher, he admitted he’d been working while collecting comp benefits.

He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and was ordered to pay restitution.

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