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Maryland rural carrier sent to prison for workers comp fraud

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Greenbelt, Maryland – Chief U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced Darlene M. Altvater, age 48, of Mechanicsville, Maryland, late yesterday to five months in prison, followed by five months home detention and three years of supervised release, for two counts of making false statements to obtain federal disability benefits. Chief Judge Chasanow also ordered Altvater to pay restitution, with the exact amount still to be determined.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Paul Bowman of the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General; and Special Agent in Charge Michael S. Barcus, U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations

According to the evidence presented at her five day trial, Darlene Altvater was employed by the U.S. Postal Service as a rural carrier at the Mechanicsville Post Office in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. After an on-the-job injury to her head and neck, Altvater began receiving federal workers’ compensation benefits in 2001. The evidence showed that from January 2005 through December 2011, while she continued to receive worker’s compensation benefits based on her disability, Altvater operated a salon, day spa and fitness center, first in Leonardown, Maryland and later in California, Maryland, under the names LadySlender LLC, Creative Touch Salon and Spa, and California Fitness LLC.

Although Altvater filed forms with the USPS and the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs claiming that she was unable to work due to her disability, witnesses testified that Altvater reported to the salon on a regular basis, performing physical acts, including demonstrating the use of the fitness equipment, performing pedicures and giving massages.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General and U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Hollis R. Weisman and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann O’Brien, assigned from the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, who prosecuted the case.

Read more: Former Postal Service Employee Sentenced to Prison for Making False Statements to Obtain Federal Disability Benefits.

  • Concerned citizen

    It’s people like that, who make the system harder on people who would eventually may need it…..Life

    • Sonny

      I know this lady and what was reported as her claiming to be disabled is 100% untrue! In fact she went back to work to the post office for 4 1/2 years during the time they are alleging. There was an investigation in 2005 sent to the DOL regarding her having the business. DOL closed case not enough evidence to forfeit benefits. A few months later the postal service removed her from her position and told her to seek alternate employment. She filed grievance with her union and won for post office to put her back to job. Post office never complied after she sent letter after letter. She had no earnings at her and her husbands business to report. She found another job with post office that ended after 11 months. Right after it ended the investigation started up again. The lead investigator went to her case file and obtained an altered document from her original job assignment back in 2009 job. She had an ineffective attorney that didnt bring any of this out, thus resulting in conviction. In Fed court u get 1 shot. It’s horrible what is being released. The case is at a “stay” on hold by judge

  • Jack Frost

    OWCP may continue paying her and billing the USPS since the agency has NO input into anything except render payment. The USPS should pull out of OWCP and watch it collapse since they are the cash cow for all the other agencies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-E-Guthrie/1569575246 Robert E. Guthrie

    About time they start doing time! Probation is a joke!