ANNISTON – A federal jury last week convicted a former U.S. Postal Service letter carrier for a series of offenses related to workers’ compensation fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Special Agent in Charge Max Eamiguel, Southern Area Field Office, U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General.
The jury deliberated about six hours before convicting SEAN ERIC SLATON, 40, of Anniston, on eight counts of false statements in connection with the Workers’ Compensation Program, 24 counts of Wire Fraud, and one count of theft of government property. The jury returned the verdict following a seven-day trial before U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre.
“Government employees who lie and cheat to receive benefit funds that have been set aside to support injured and disabled workers are stealing from U.S. taxpayers and should expect to be prosecuted,” Vance said.
“The federal workers’ compensation program is established to assist those individuals with disabilities arising from an on-the-job injury,” Eamiguel said. “In 2012, the Postal Service paid $1.3 billion in costs associated with the workers’ compensation program. The vast majority of postal employees who are receiving these benefits are truly disabled and need this valuable government program to recover and eventually return to work. There are some employees, however, who abuse the system and attempt to fraudulently obtain benefits to which they are not entitled,” he said. “The U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, is dedicated to investigate such instances and, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, prosecute those individuals to the fullest extent of the law.”
Slaton began receiving payments from the Department of Labor Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs in 2002 after he was deemed disabled from a 2001 vehicle accident that occurred while he was working as a city letter carrier in Birmingham. He was charged with devising a scheme to defraud the Department of Labor and the Postal Service beginning in July 2011 by reporting false information to the Postal Service and Department of Labor and misrepresenting and concealing his physical abilities and limitations. During the course of the investigation, Slaton was observed engaging in physical activities that exceeded his prescribed medical restrictions. Slaton also was charged with filing false reports that misrepresented his income, employment, and business activities in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, investigated the case, which was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama.