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‘Injured’ logger caught logging time on the dance floor


A Cowlitz County, Washington, logger who faked injuries to collect workers compensation benefits and who was caught dancing must repay the state $163,566.

James Joseph Thomasson, who admitted to stealing worker compensation benefits for two years, was struck in the leg by a tree, suffering bruises and abrasions while working as a logger in the fall of 2006, according to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. A year later, he claimed he hurt his back while using a wedge to fell a tree. His medical provider told L&I that Mr. Thomasson could not work due to the workplace injuries, making him eligible to receive payments for part of his lost wages. In addition, Mr. Thomasson regularly submitted official forms stating he could not work because of the injuries.

After receiving an anonymous tip, investigators caught Mr. Thomasson in 2019 performing numerous physical activities that were inconsistent with his medically prescribed restrictions.

“For instance, they recorded him walking briskly uphill while talking on a cellphone, found a social media clip of him dancing by quickly moving his hips side-to-side, and saw him repeatedly lift a heavy tool above his head,” according to L&I. “At times during the same period, it appeared that when he thought he was under surveillance he would walk slowly and limp, especially at medical appointments.”