Camping Out at Home
The appeal of the Recreational Vehicle (RV) lifestyle is growing. (It’s a great way to travel and vacation economically, while also taking along your family, friends and the kitchen sink.)A Tacoma-area man found his job as an RV salesman appealing as well because he used an on-the-job injury to defraud the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) out of more than $81,000 in state disability benefits.
The RV salesman claimed he slipped and fell on an icy parking lot at one of the RV companies where he worked and injured his lower back and chest. He said his doctors confirmed he was not able to work due to the injuries.
Over a two-year period, the man signed off on official forms stating he did not and could not work because of his on-the-job injury. During that time, L&I paid him $81,453 in workers’ compensation payments.
During a routine check of state Employment Security Department records, it was discovered that the man was actually working three jobs while receiving the workers’ compensation payments. (Apparently, he was working as an RV salesman at two different RV companies and also as a home caregiver.)
What sealed the man’s fate was evidence caught on camera. An investigator filmed him at an RV show where he was walking, raising his arms and showing trailers to prospective customers. He was also overheard telling a customer he had worked long hours at the show. (Oops. Gotcha!)
The 48-year old man pleaded guilty to felony first-degree theft and was sentenced to 45 days in jail. The judge was lenient and allowed the fraudster to serve time at home while electronically monitored. (That’s kind of like camping out at home I suppose.) He was also ordered to pay restitution in full to L&I.