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Disabled corrections officer pleads guilty to workers comp fraud, larceny

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A Massachusetts correctional officer who ran car dealerships while receiving workers compensation and other injury-related benefits has been ordered to pay more than $305,000 in restitution and serve five years of probation, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office said Friday.

Paul Mahan, 42, of Athol, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Superior Court last week to workers comp fraud and larceny, according to a statement from the attorney general’s office.

“This defendant fraudulently collected state benefits, claiming he could not work, while at the same time working and earning money,” Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement. “These benefits are intended to help individuals who are unable to work as the result of on-the-job injuries, and we will pursue those who exploit these programs.”

Mr. Mahan began working as a correctional officer with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department in 1997, and suffered a job-related knee injury in 2000, according to the attorney general’s statement. He underwent various independent medical examinations over the course of several years to determine the extent of his disability, and was determined to be permanently and totally disabled in 2006.

Mr. Mahan received workers comp benefits, assault pay and retirement benefits from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, the sum of which totaled more than 100% of Mr. Mahan’s salary as a correctional officer, the statement said.

The sheriff’s department began periodic surveillance of Mr. Mahan in 2006 and found that he and a business partner, Kelly Walsh, were regularly working at Shamrock Motors of Winchendon, Massachusetts, a car dealership that is registered under the names of Messrs. Mahan and Walsh’s wives, the attorney general said. Further investigation showed that Messrs. Mahan and Walsh were working at another unidentified car dealership, as well.

The sheriff department’s investigation revealed that Mr. Mahan received an overpayment of $203,000 in workers comp benefits, $125,000 in assault pay, $49,000 in retirement benefits and $46,000 in Social Security disability benefits while working for the car dealerships, according to the attorney general’s office.

Mr. Walsh, who also was implicated in the investigation, pleaded guilty to larceny by false pretenses in 2014 and was ordered to pay $22,320 in restitution.