Former Mass. Jail Officer Sentenced for Fraudulently Collecting Benefits

June 1, 2015

Massachusetts authorities announced that a former Suffolk County correctional officer has pleaded guilty and been sentenced for fraudulently collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in workers’ compensation, disability, and retirement benefits while working.

According to a May 29 announcement by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, Paul Mahan from Athol, Massachusett, pleaded guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to charges of workers’ compensation fraud and larceny by false pretenses.

After the plea was entered, Mahan was sentenced to five years of probation and was ordered to pay $305,618 in restitution.

“This defendant fraudulently collected state benefits, claiming he could not work, while at the same time working and earning money,” Healey said. “These benefits are intended to help individuals who are unable to work as the result of on-the-job injuries and we will pursue those who exploit these programs.”

Mahan began working as a correctional officer for the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department (SCSD) in 1997. In 2000, he sustained a knee injury while on the job that was immediately reported to the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA). The SCSD began paying Mahan benefits retroactive to the date of the injury.

In succeeding years, Mahan underwent Independent Medical Exams (IME) as required by DIA, with varying medical opinions of the severity of his condition and ability to work, in order to receive benefits. In 2006, Mahan was ultimately determined by a judge to be permanently and totally disabled. A recipient of permanent total benefits may collect payments indefinitely.

As the result of these rulings, Mahan was ultimately able to collect three separate checks each month for the injury sustained during his three year tenure at the SCSD: workers’ comp benefits, assault pay, and retirement benefits. The collection of these benefits amounted to payments totaling more than 100 percent of Mahan’s salary at the SCSD each month.

After paying Mahan benefits for six years, the SCSD began periodic surveillance of Mahan in 2006. Officials said that on various occasions between 2006 and 2011, surveillance found that Mahan and his business partner and co-defendant, Kelly Walsh, were working regularly at Shamrock Motors of Winchendon, Massachusetts, a business registered in the name of Mahan and Walsh’s wives, performing various tasks on- and off-site. Walsh was also collecting disability through the federally administered Title II Disability Benefits, subsequent to a back injury sustained in 2004.

Authorities said an investigation into the bank accounts associated with Shamrock Motors revealed numerous checks made payable to Mahan, Walsh and their wives totaling more than $385,000. Further investigations also found that in 2007 Mahan and Walsh were employed at another auto dealership in a contract partnership that paid the defendants $38,000 upon their separation.

Authorities said that as a result of Mahan’s failure to report his income, he received an overpayment of more than $203,000 in workers’ comp benefits from his employer’s insurance carrier, more than $125,000 in assault pay and more than $49,000 in retirement benefits. In addition, Walsh received an overpayment of more than $46,000 in social security disability benefits during the time of the fraud.

In 2014, Walsh admitted to sufficient facts on the charge of larceny by false pretenses. His case was continued without a finding for two years and he was ordered to pay $22,320 in restitution.

Source: Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office

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