Postal Service Employee Convicted of Fraudulently Receiving over $50,000 in Worker’s Compensation Benefits
Did Not Report Her Improved Medical Condition and Ability to Return to Work
Baltimore, Maryland – A federal jury today convicted U.S. Postal Service employee Lori A. Parry, age 44, of Baltimore, today on charges related to her fraudulent receipt of over $50,000 in federal worker’s compensation benefits.
The conviction 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 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. Witnesses testified that Parry received FECA benefits for the knee injury from February 8, 2007 through June 1, 2013, totaling over $249,000. 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.
According to trial evidence, from at least February 2012 through August 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.
According to trial testimony, an investigation determined that from at least September 2012 through April 2013, while receiving FECA benefits, Parry regularly engaged in strenuous yard work and other vigorous activities. Parry was observed and videotaped as she performed these tasks without limitation and not wearing a brace of any kind.
At Parry’s next visit to her physician, she was informed that she was physically able to return to her employment. The same day as that visit, April 22, 2013, 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 crocheting, and denied performing any strenuous activities.
Trial evidence showed that from March 2012, through June 1, 2013, Parry fraudulently received FECA benefits totaling more than $50,000.
Parry faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for false statement and fraud to obtain federal employees’ compensation and for making false statements; and a maximum of 10 years in prison for theft of government property. U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled sentencing for January 19, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.
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 is prosecuting the case.