Former Postal Service Employee Sentenced To Federal Prison For Fraudulently Receiving Over $214,000 In Worker’s Compensation Benefits
Lied to Her Physician, Did Not Report Her Improved Medical Condition and Ability to Return to Work
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced former U.S. Postal Service employee Lori A. Parry, age 44, of Baltimore, on January 19, 2017, to a year and a day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, on charges related to her fraudulent receipt of federal worker’s compensation benefits. At the sentencing hearing, Judge Hollander found that the loss from the scheme was $214,227 and entered an order requiring Parry to pay restitution in that amount. A federal jury convicted Parry on September 30, 2016
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Paul L. Bowman of the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General.
According to information presented at her five-day trial, Parry was employed by the U.S. Postal Service from 1989 through July 2013, as a letter carrier and in other positions. On November 12, 1992, Parry, while employed as a letter carrier at the Dundalk Post Office, claimed that she suffered a left knee contusion while delivering mail.
Employees of the USPS who are disabled due to occupational injuries can receive compensation benefits under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA), which is administered by the Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs (OWCP). In certain cases, employees can receive up to 75% of their monthly salary.
According to the evidence, in December 2004, Parry applied for FECA benefits due to the 1992 injury. Although Parry received treatment from various physicians, including several arthroscopic surgeries and extensive physical therapy, she reported little or no improvement. Parry returned to limited duty assignments at the Post Office, and worked semi-regularly for much of 2004 through February 2007.
On February 8, 2007, Parry had surgery on her knee, and did not return to work. Parry reported that she was unable to work, and requested additional FECA benefits. Parry received FECA benefits for the knee injury from February 8, 2007 through June 1, 2013. The evidence showed that multiple times during that period, Parry claimed in documents and oral statements supporting her claim for benefits that she was unable to return to work in any capacity during that time. However, at the sentencing hearing Judge Hollander found that Parry was medically cleared to return to work beginning on October 22, 2007, and the loss from the fraud was over $214,000, the amount of FECA benefits received from October 22, 2007 through April 22, 2013.
According to trial evidence, from at October 2007 through April 22, 2013, Parry’s medical condition improved so that she was capable of performing work at the USPS. Parry did not report the improvement in her medical condition to the DOL or to the USPS, as required. In addition, witnesses testified that Parry falsely represented her medical condition to her treating physician, and on February 9, 2012, at the end of an appointment with her physician, Parry gave the doctor a $100 bill as she was leaving the office.
An investigation determined that from at least 2009 through April 2013, while receiving FECA benefits, Parry regularly engaged in strenuous yard work and other vigorous activities. In 2012 and 2013, Parry was observed and videotaped as she performed these tasks without limitation.
According to evidence presented at the sentencing hearing, in April 2013, investigators interviewed Parry’s treating doctor and showed him the video taken during the investigation. The doctor told investigators that Parry’s activities were inconsistent with her representations of her physical abilities, and in his opinion, she was capable of working.
On April 22, 2013, Parry went to see her physician, who informed her that she was physically able to return to her employment. The same day, Parry returned to full duty as a mail processing clerk without restrictions at the Baltimore Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC).
Witnesses testified that on April 23, 2013, Parry was interviewed by investigators and confirmed she last worked on February 7, 2007 and returned to full duty on April 22, 2013. Parry falsely told investigators that she did not and could not engage in any strenuous activity while she was off work. Parry falsely stated that she just sat on the couch all day watching television, reading, and doing crafts, and denied performing any strenuous activities.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the USPS-OIG for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Budlow, who prosecuted the case.