New York OTDA Employee Arrested For Nearly $12K Sick-Leave Fraud

March 18, 2020

A New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) employee has been arrested after allegedly submitted 13 forged doctors’ notes over the course of six months to obtain 75 days of paid sick leave, totaling $11,867.74.

Jacob R. Weaver of Schenectady, N.Y., allegedly used the forged notes to take off most of the summer and December 2019, plus well into January 2020, all while receiving paid sick leave to which he was not entitled. During this period, Weaver used six days of accrued leave at full pay and then used 75 days of sick leave at half-pay.

“This individual allegedly forged sick notes to take multiple months off from work,” said New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro in a press release issued by her office. “He abused the trust placed in state workers to act responsibly and follow the law. Thankfully, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance recognized something was amiss and brought the matter to my office. He is now being held accountable for defrauding the state, his fellow workers and ultimately New York’s taxpayers.”

Weaver, a contract management specialist 2 for OTDA, was absent from work from July 8 to September 4, 2019. During that period, Weaver emailed six forged medical notes to OTDA in support of his absence.

Based on these notes, Weaver was placed in sick leave status. Weaver was later absent from work December 9, 2019 through January 10, 2020. He submitted seven forged medical notes via email to OTDA to support these absences and again received half-pay for the duration of the time he was off.

OTDA found the medical documentation suspicious and referred the matter to the Inspector General for investigation. The Inspector General’s investigation found that all of the medical notes contained forged signatures of physicians’ assistants and/or were altered to indicate Weaver was unable to work on specific dates due to illness.

Weaver was charged in Albany City Court before the Hon. John Reilly with one count of grand larceny in the third degree (class D felony), 13 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree (class D felony) and 13 counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree (class E felony). He was released on his own recognizance. Weaver is currently suspended from OTDA. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

Source: New York Offices of the Inspector General

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