Video: Detroit postal worker faces workers comp fraud charges

DETROIT – A former U.S. Postal Worker in Detroit is expected to face charges of double-dipping, after federal agents found her illegally working at a new job.

Caprice Hughes worked for the postal service for six years. During that time she filed a number of worker’s compensation claims and was granted a leave from her job last year, when a right arm injury left her unable to lift anything heavier than five pounds.

She was paid nearly $30,000 a year in disability checks, with a requirement not to work at other jobs, as well as filing and signing legal paperwork in the process.

But federal agents found her working at a hair and nail salon in Oak Park.

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California letter carrier arrested for Workers’ Comp fraud

13768258403_046574a541_mLOS ANGELES, Calif. – Wayne Lu, 53 of Torrance is in custody on charges of alleged workers’ compensation fraud associated with an injury received during his employment with the U.S. Postal Service. Detectives from the California Department of Insurance, with the assistance of U.S. Postal Inspectors, arrested Lu on Tuesday, April 8 in Manhattan Beach.

“Workers’ compensation fraud is not a victimless crime,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “Fraudulent claims inflate premiums for all consumers and cast unnecessary doubt on workers that are truly injured and deserve timely treatment and rehabilitation.”

California Department of Insurance Detectives and United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General Special Agents conducted a joint investigation and learned that Lu was working as a massage therapist despite his claims of shoulder injury. Surveillance and undercover operations by Fraud Division Detectives proved that Lu was a working massage therapist and failed to report said employment or improvement of condition to the United States Department of Labor, the entity that handles workers’ compensation for the U.S. Postal Service.

Detectives from CDI’s Fraud Division are currently part of a task force operated by the Office of Inspector General – Postal Inspection Unit, focused on investigating and arresting postal employees who are suspected of committing insurance fraud in the State of California. Wayne Lu is charged with one felony count of insurance fraud and the case will be prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

How Does The GOP’s Government Shutdown Affect OWCP Claims?

laborMany postal employees are wondering how the government shutdown is affecting Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) claims.  The adjudication of OWCP claims and the payment of workers’ compensation benefits are considered essential work, so the claims examiners who are assigned these duties in the Department of Labor’s field offices are continuing to work.  Employees who are injured at work during the shutdown or who have existing claims should expect routine service on these matters, said Human Relations Director Sue Carney. Continue reading

Postal service HR secretary faces disability fraud charge

Newsday reports that a USPS secretary from Long Island has been arrested and charged with fraudulently collecting disability benefits.

A U.S. Postal Service secretary on Long Island who claimed she was so injured on the job filing paperwork that she could no longer carry out routine tasks or walk easily was arrested Monday on charges she fraudulently collected more than $50,000 in disability benefits since March 2012.

USPS records list the individual charged, Zdena Hock, as an EAS-12 administrative assistant at the Mid-Island P&DC in Melville NY. Newsday cites sources as saying that she was secretary in the human resources office there.

Investigators claim that while Hock claimed she was unable to engage in virtually any physical activity, she was observed swimming three times a week, and carrying groceries, with no sign of the claimed injuries to her back and neck.

Hock faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Read more: Postal service secretary faces disability fraud charge.

DOL suspends USPS access to workers comp data over employee privacy concerns

laborThe Department of Labor, which administers the workers compensation program for injured postal workers, has suspended the postal service’s electronic access to data gathered under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). The move comes after the USPS refused to accept DOL’s privacy guidelines.

As the administrator of the FECA, OWCP has the exclusive authority to control access to and disclosure of FECA records, including those in possession of the federal agencies who employ our injured workers. Although the United States Department of Justice has confirmed OWCP’s exclusive authority over FECA records, the Unites States Postal Service (USPS) disagrees and is unwilling to abide by DOL’s rules and restrictions on disclosure of FECA claim documents. As a result, USPS has refused to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with DOL in order for USPS to receive FECA data electronically. DOL takes its privacy stewardship responsibilities seriously and has taken steps in order to protect the privacy of USPS employees who submit medical and personal information in connection with an application for FECA benefits. Because we have been unable to resolve this disagreement and because USPS has not signed the MOU, DOL is suspending USPS access to electronic case information as well as the transmittal of certain FECA information to USPS, except in those limited circumstances required for FECA claims administration to avoid unduly penalizing USPS employees.

Specifically, OWCP notified USPS that, as of July 1, 2013, we will suspend the electronic transfer of FECA information and documents to USPS, suspend USPS access to the Agency Query System, and suspend access to specific case documents through electronic kiosks in DFEC District Offices. In addition, we will limit access to copies of correspondence sent to a claimant. Information required by the USPS Office of Inspector General and the Postal Inspection service for investigatory activities within the scope of their authority will continue to be provided.

Read more: U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) – Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation (DFEC) – Impact of USPS Data Suspension.