Mass. Prison Officer Indicted for Comp Fraud

A former Bristol County (Mass.) Corrections Officer has been indicted for working while collecting workers’ compensation benefits, according to Attorney General Tom Reilly.

Kevin J. Mello, of South Dartmouth was indicted by a Bristol County grand jury on one count each of workers’ compensation insurance fraud and larceny over $250. He is scheduled to be arraigned today, Jan. 5.

In 1998, Mello applied for and began receiving workers’ compensation benefits due to an alleged back injury sustained while he was on the job as a Bristol County Corrections Officer. He continued to receive workers’ compensation benefits until 2004. From 1998-2004, Mello allegedly submitted numerous signed earnings statements to his employer, the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office, in which he claimed to have no earnings besides his workers’ compensation benefits.

Reilly’s office said that investigators found, however, that in 2000 Mello began working as a home improvement contractor in the Dartmouth/New Bedford area, primarily installing vinyl siding and windows on residential homes. Mello continued his work as a contractor until 2004. From 2000-2004, Mello allegedly worked on more than 25 residences using the names Kevin J. Mello & Sons, KJM Construction, and Kevin And Sons Carpentry, according to the attorney general’s account.

Mello was allegedly caught on videotape working at a construction site in South Dartmouth while collecting workers’ compensation benefits for his alleged total disability. The video allegedly showed Mello cutting and installing vinyl siding on a South Dartmouth residence.

From 2000-2004, Mello is alleged to have fraudulently received nearly $95,000 in workers’ compensation benefits to which he was not entitled.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Kajal K. Chattopadhyay of AG Reilly’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division. The case was jointly investigated by the Attorney General’s Office and the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office.