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Postal worker sentenced to prison for defrauding federal comp program

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A former Texas postal worker was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for his role in a large scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs.

McArthur Baker and co-defendant Tonya Evans, both former Dallas postal workers, were convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud the federal government with respect to claims and one count of false statements or fraud to obtain federal employees’ compensation, according to a press release issued Monday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Texas. Mr. Baker’s sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay.

Mr. Baker began his career with the U.S. Postal Service in 1982. He made eight disability claims between 1984 and 2007 and stopped working in December 2007, after which he collected disability compensation until he retired in October 2009. Following his retirement, Mr. Baker continued to receive disability medical care paid through the Labor Department.

Ms. Evans began working as a postal clerk in 1985. She filed three disability claims and began receiving workers comp payments in 2001. Ms. Evans was approved for disability retirement in 2011.

Both Mr. Baker and Ms. Evans participated in a scheme to fabricate medical claims with Larry Washington, a licensed professional counselor who operated several mental health, rehabilitation, chiropractic, pain management and physical therapy businesses in Texas, according to the press release. Mr. Washington paid Mr. Baker and Ms. Evans $100 for each “mood inventory” they completed that indicated they had received treatment when they hadn’t, the release said. Mr. Baker received about $3,000 and Ms. Evans received about $6,000 for the falsified documents, the release said.

Based on the falsified inventories, Mr. Washington was able to bill $105,125 from the Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs for Mr. Baker and $202,438 for Ms. Evans. Mr. Baker also submitted falsified travel documentation related to medical services he purportedly received from Mr. Washington, according to the release.

Mr. Washington was convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and sentenced in May 2016 to federal prison. He also was ordered to pay $7.7 million in restitution. Ms. Evans is scheduled to be sentenced in June.

The scheme involved at least 20 other claimants, four doctors or medical providers, a senior claims examiner at the Labor Department, a claims representative, a Postal Service employee and a medical provider’s employee, all of whom have been charged in the scheme, the release said.

“In total, the defendants were able to collectively fraudulently bill the federal government through the OWCP for more than $9.5 million and receive more than $8.7 million in government payments based on their fraudulent billing,” the press release said. “The DOL made approximately $11.4 million in payments to these claimants for their compensation and medical services.”