A former Verizon New York employee who allegedly lied to doctors about arm injuries to obtain more than $19,000 in workers’ compensation benefits has been arrested. This comes after surveillance videos showed her exercising and lifting weights despite her claims of being unable to work.
Kelly M. Gersbacher of Mattydale, N.Y., was arrested and arraigned virtually in East Syracuse Village Court before Hon. Ralph Cognetti of Town of Pompey Justice Court on charges of grand larceny in the third degree, two counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree and two counts of Workers’ Compensation Law section 114(1) penalties for fraudulent practices – all felonies.
Gersbacher worked for Verizon New York as a technician when she sustained carpal tunnel-related injuries to both arms in August 2016. After having multiple surgeries between 2017 and 2019, she began receiving workers’ compensation indemnity payments in January 2019. Gersbacher received additional payments through Verizon New York’s disability benefits plan.
As required, Gersbacher attended independent medical examinations in 2019, where she claimed she could only lift 10 pounds from the ground. She also claimed that, because of the injuries, she was unable to continue going to her gym. Based on this, doctors determined that she was moderately disabled, resulting in her receiving more than $19,000 in benefits.
However, video surveillance from September and October 2019 found that Gersbacher was working out at gyms and conducting multiple errands, all in no apparent distress. She was filmed as she performed deadlifts with weights far exceeding 10 pounds and engaged in other weightlifting activity.
“This individual allegedly abused the workers’ compensation system by lying to doctors about the extent of her injuries,” said New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro in a press release issued by her office. “The workers’ compensation program provides vital funds to those who are truly injured and in need. My office will continue to work with law enforcement to find those seeking to wrongfully obtain benefits from this important program.”
The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
Source: New York State Offices of the Inspector General
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