NC Postal Worker Pleads Guilty to Comp Fraud After Photos Show Him Ziplining

February 8, 2024

A 73-year-old postal worker pleaded guilty this week to more than $100,000 in workers’ compensation fraud after social media postings showed him engaged in rigorous physical activity, including ziplining at Niagara Falls.

Johnnie Franklin Sullivan Sr., of Mooresville, North Carolina, was a mail clerk in Charlotte when he was injured in 2005. For years after that, Sullivan claimed on periodic medical reports that he was unable sit for long periods of time, was able to drive only short distances, and could not work, federal prosecutors said.

Over the years, he collected some $103,261 in benefits from the federal workers’ compensation benefits program. But Sullivan also was busy taking trips around the world and posting photographs on social media, according to a bulletin from the U.S. Attorney’s office for Western North Carolina.

The photos showed him ziplining, using surf boards and boogie boards at the beach, “shag dancing,” and walking for great distances at sites in Europe and the U.S., prosecutors said.

“For years, Sullivan Sr. lied about his pain and suffering caused by an on-the-job injury to bilk the federal workers’ compensation program out of thousands of dollars, and used the funds to pay for recreational activities,” U.S. Attorney Dena King said.

Sullivan pleaded guilty to making a false report in connection with federal compensation benefits and theft of government funds, then was released on bond. A sentencing date has not been set.

Workers’ compensation insurance investigators have said for years that social media postings are one of the top methods used to catch comp fraudsters.

Photo: Stock photo of ziplining.

Topics Fraud North Carolina

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