California Couple Indicted For Workers’ Comp And Bankruptcy Fraud

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Michael McCree, 60, and his wife Debra Fields, 58, both of Vacaville, were charged today in two separate indictments for fraud, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

McCree was charged with 18 counts of making false statements in order to receive Workers’ Compensation and other compensations and reimbursements. According to the indictment, McCree worked for the U.S. Post Office for six months in 1988 and 1989 before filing a workers’ compensation claim for an alleged back injury. Since 1989, the Department of Labor has been paying McCree monthly wage loss compensation and reimbursements for medical-related travel. From January 2007 through June 2012, McCree received more than $120,000 in reimbursements for travel, but according to court documents, he did not travel to the location listed and did not receive medical treatment.

“This indictment marks a significant effort in the ongoing battle against fraudulent workers’ compensation claims. The workers’ compensation program benefits thousands of postal employees who have suffered legitimate on-the-job injuries. But false claims by postal employees undermine the system. Special Agents with the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General investigate such claims and work hand in hand with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to ensure violators are brought to justice,” said Special Agent in Charge Nichole Cooper, Pacific Area Field Office, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.

According to the indictment, Fields is charged with three counts: concealing property, making a false oath, and making a false statement. In June 2011, she filed for bankruptcy and was discharged of her debts that she listed as more than $550,000. Fields did not disclose that her husband was receiving monthly wage loss payments and or reimbursements for travel. She also failed to disclose some of McCree’s bank accounts.

These cases are the product of an investigation by the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Todd A. Pickles is prosecuting the cases.

If convicted, McCree faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Fields faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for each count. The actual sentences, if the defendants are convicted, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.