A Tacoma, Wash.-area man faces a felony theft charge after he was caught working while receiving more than $81,000 in workers’ compensation disability payments.
Bobby R. Johnson, 47, was charged with first-degree theft.
The Washington Attorney General’s Office filed the charge based on an investigation by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.
Johnson reportedly injured his lower back and chest when he fell on an icy parking lot at a recreational vehicle company in Poulsbo.
The investigation started when a routine cross-check of L&I and state employment security records showed Johnson was employed at the same time he was receiving wage-replacement payments from L&I.
According to charging papers, Johnson received $81,453 in workers’ comp payments over a two-year period starting in March 2013. To receive the checks, Johnson signed official forms declaring he did not, and could not, work due to his on-the-job injury. Physicians also confirmed he was unable to work.
The L&I investigation, however, found that Johnson was working as a home caregiver throughout the two-year time span, and as a salesman for stints at two RV companies.
At an RV show in the spring of 2015, an L&I undercover investigator reportedly saw Johnson walking and moving freely as he showed trailers to customers, and overheard him say he worked long hours all weekend long, selling a “good amount” of trailers, charging papers said.
“Cheating the workers’ comp system doesn’t pay,” Elizabeth Smith, assistant director of L&I’s Fraud Prevention & Labor Standards, said in a statement.
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