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A U.S. Postal Service worker who claimed to be completely disabled following an occupational injury nearly 30 years ago has been found guilty of workers compensation fraud, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Carol-Lisa Gutman of Delmar, New York, began receiving federal workers comp benefits in 1987 after allegedly injuring her back while working for the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of New York in Albany said in a Tuesday statement.
The 62-year-old told doctors she had trouble bending, lifting, carrying and sitting, and that she spent 15 hours a day in a hot tub to relieve her back pain, according to the statement.
The case was later investigated by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, the statement said. At trial, video recordings from 2011, 2012 and 2013 showed Ms. Gutman working in her yard, raking leaves, mowing the lawn, carrying large pails of yard waste and bending over repeatedly.
Ms. Gutman had received about $429,000 in federal disability benefits between September 2001 and April 2016, according to the statement. On Tuesday, she was found guilty of conducting a 15-year fraud scheme and convicted of five counts of wire fraud, two counts of workers comp fraud and one count of theft of government money, according to the statement.
Ms. Gutman is scheduled to be sentenced in Syracuse on Oct. 26 and faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and an order that she pay restitution.
Three people have pleaded guilty to working while receiving workers compensation benefits, Ohio's Bureau of Workers' Compensation said Friday.