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Former insurance agent to serve time for workers comp scam


A Lake Stevens, Washington, man will serve 60 days in jail for claiming that he was too disabled to work while running his own insurance agency.

James C. Kooy pleaded guilty to the felony charge in Snohomish County, Washington, Superior Court in September. He was sentenced Monday on one count of first-degree theft for wrongfully receiving more than $233,000 in workers compensation payments from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

In 2008, Mr. Kooy began receiving partial wage replacement benefits from L&I after twisting his knee while working as a heavy equipment operator. He opened Lake Insurance Inc. in 2010 and L&I stopped providing the cash benefits. The department later reinstated the wage replacement checks after his lawyer said Mr. Kooy was unable to work and planned to sell the company. An L&I investigation determined that Mr. Kooy still owned and operated his business during this time and was receiving workers comp benefits. Over that five-year period ending in April 2015, the investigation found the Lake Stevens business generated more than $800,000 in revenue, L&I said in a statement.

“This case was truly outrageous. He worked for at least five years in his own business without telling us or his doctors. By cheating to get cash benefits, he took money away from legitimately injured workers who really do need help to heal and get back to work,” Elizabeth Smith, Seattle-based assistant director of L&I's Fraud Prevention & Labor Standards, said in a statement.