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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Delmar Woman Sentenced to Prison for Workers’ Compensation Fraud Scheme

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Carol-Lisa Gutman, age 62, of Delmar, New York, was sentenced today to 22 months in prison after a jury found her guilty earlier this year of conducting a 15-year fraud scheme in which she received about $429,000 in federal disability benefits.


The announcement was made by United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Eileen Neff, Special Agent in Charge for the Northeast Area of the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General.


In June, Gutman was convicted of five counts of wire fraud, two counts of federal employees’ compensation fraud, and one count of theft of government money after a six-day jury trial in Albany presided over by Senior United States District Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr.  In addition to the 22-month prison sentence, Judge Scullin ordered Gutman to be placed on supervised release for 2 years after her release from prison and to pay restitution to the United States Department of Labor in the amount of $429,677.93.


The evidence at trial demonstrated that Gutman began receiving federal workers’ compensation benefits in 1987, after claiming to have injured her back while working for the United States Postal Service.  From that time forward, Gutman claimed to be completely disabled, regularly reporting to her doctors that she was essentially housebound and lacked the ability to do any substantial amount of bending, lifting, carrying, or even sitting.  Gutman also reported that she spent 15 hours each day in a large hot tub in order to obtain relief for her back pain and that she did not perform household-related tasks.


The evidence at trial included hours of video recordings from 2011, 2012 and 2013, showing Gutman working in her yard, performing activities such as raking leaves, mowing the lawn, carrying large pails of yard waste, and bending over repeatedly. As a result of her fraud, between September 2001 and April 2016, Gutman received more than $429,000 in workers’ compensation benefits to which she was not entitled.


This case was investigated by the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael F. Perry.

Labor & Employment
Updated December 8, 2016