Safety and OSHA News

Workers’ comp fraud: Employee could go to jail for 20 years

A former Postal worker could spend 20 years in prison for workers’ comp fraud. That sounds like a long sentence, but it’s less than the 25 years prosecutors say he’s been defrauding the government.

A federal grand jury returned an 11-count indictment today against Mark Leung of South Lake Tahoe, CA. He’s charged with making a false statement to obtain federal workers’ comp benefits, wire fraud and mail fraud.

Leung worked for the U.S. Postal Service until 1987 when he claimed he suffered a work-related injury. He left the job, never returned full-time and has been receiving workers’ comp benefits.

To obtain the benefits, Leung had to submit an annual certification form and his medical providers had to attest he couldn’t work because of pain and limited mobility and range of movement.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office questions Leung’s disability, noting that he has maintained an annual ski pass for Heavenly Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe where he regularly skied for at least 40 days per season. Leung was also observed performing “arduous physical labor” on numerous occasions.

Leung faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. For the period from September 2007 through November 2012, he received about $160,000 in workers’ comp benefits.

Contacted by the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Leung said, “I didn’t defraud the government.”

Leung told the newspaper skiing is the only exercise he can get after injuring his back, where he has three collapsed disks. He said he can only ski for short periods before he needs icing and traction.

“The MRI scan does not lie,” Leung told the Tribune.

The U.S. Postal Service and Department of Labor investigated this case.

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