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Press Release

U.S. Postal Service Employee Sentenced for Lying About Cancer in Order to Take Sick Leave

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado
Defendant faked doctor notes and planned to lie about sickness until her retirement

DENVER – Caroline Zarate Boyle, age 60, of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Raymond P. Moore to serve 5 years’ probation with the first 6 months in home confinement including wearing an electronic monitor. She was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and spend 652 hours doing community service to be served at a cancer treatment center, cancer research center or hospice. Finally, she was ordered to pay $20,798.38 in restitution to the U.S. Postal Service, Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer and Executive Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General announced.


Boyle was first charged by Criminal Complaint on March 3, 2017. She was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on March 16, 2017. She pled guilty to the indictment as charged without a plea agreement on April 28, 2017. She was sentenced by Judge Moore today, August 22, 2017.


According to the Factual Basis for Change of Plea stipulated by both parties, Boyle was an employee of the U.S. Postal Service. In the summer of 2015, after she was not selected for a promotion, Boyle decided to take some time off work by pretending to have cancer. She communicated to her supervisor that she was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She then began taking substantial amounts of sick leave, despite the fact that Boyle did not have non-Hodgkins lymphoma, nor did she have any other sort of cancer or serious illness that necessitated the sick leave she was taking.


Boyle continued the ruse until she was caught following an interviewed by an agent of the Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General on February 28, 2017. In the approximately twenty months that Boyle’s fraud lasted, she used her non-existent cancer treatment to support both unwarranted sick leave and unwarranted accommodations allowing her to work part-time or work from home. Boyle was to continue this fraud until her scheduled retirement in April 2017. Despite claiming that cancer treatment had made her too sick to work or come to the office, she was planning a post-retirement cruise to Hawaii.


During the course of the investigation it was determined that Boyle e-mailed her supervisor notes from two different doctors indicating that she was receiving cancer treatment. However, the notes were created by Boyle as she was not a patient of either doctor.


Additional evidence at sentencing showed that, prior to faking cancer herself, Boyle had falsely accused a subordinate of faking cancer and denied her certain accommodations which that employee had requested due to her sickness. In contrast, Boyle was often granted paid administrative leave (not charged to her sick leave balance) and allowed to work from home up to five days a week based on her fraudulent illness.


Executive Special Agent in Charge Scott Pierce said, “The American public trusts that U.S. Postal Service employees will obey the law. When an employee of the Postal Service violates that trust, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG) thoroughly investigates those matters. This type of behavior within the Postal Service is not tolerated and the overwhelming majority of Postal Service employees, which serve the public, are honest, hardworking, and trustworthy individuals who would never consider engaging in any type of criminal behavior. The USPS OIG and U.S. Attorney’s Office remain committed to holding accountable anyone responsible for such violations.”


This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General. The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Dan Burrows.

Updated March 6, 2018