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OFF BEAT: Postal worker likely to get workout from court over disability claims


A former postal worker has likely concluded that demonstrating the use of fitness equipment while collecting disability payments is probably not a wise move.

According to news reports, a federal jury last week convicted Darlene M. Altvater, 48, of two counts of filing false disability claims after a five-day trial. Ms. Altvater, a rural carrier for the U.S. Postal Service at the Mechanicsville, Md., post office, began receiving federal workers compensation benefits in 2001 for an on-the-job head and neck injury.

But there was evidence that from January 2005 through December 2011 Ms. Altvater continued to receive workers comp benefits while she operated a salon, day spa and fitness center, despite having filed forms with the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Office of Workers Compensation Programs stating she was unable to work because of her disability.

Witnesses testified that in addition to demonstrating the use of fitness equipment, she gave pedicures and massages at the salon.

Ms. Altvater faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for each of the two counts of making false statements. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2013.