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The Fraud Report

Ex NY Postal Worker Must Repay $430,000 for Fraud

by FraudReport 4. January 2017 03:59

A former U.S. Postal worker from New York was recently sentenced to a year and 10 months in federal prison. She was accused and convicted of collecting nearly $430,000 in disability benefits relating to her 1987 back injury.

Carol-Lisa Gutman, 66, must repay the $429,677 she ripped off from the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Workers Compensation Programs. She was convicted by a federal jury back in June of all eight counts she faced, including wire fraud, federal employees' compensation fraud and theft of government money.

According to the Times Union, Gutman claimed a back injury after being hurt while lifting a sack of mail on July 13, 1987. Afterwards she became eligible for disability compensation benefits, which she collected monthly.

"For nearly 15 years, at least, the defendant made a mockery of the OWCP worker's compensation program, continually making hyperbolic (but difficult-to-disprove) statements about her supposed back injury and its effect on her day-to-day life," Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Perry wrote in a Nov. 14 recommendation letter to Senior Judge Frederick Scullin, who imposed the sentence in U.S. District Court in Syracuse.

The prosecutor asked the judge to sentence Gutman for at least three years and one month; and though the judge did sentence her to one year and 10 months for each count, they are set to run concurrently. Gutman had several doctors convinced that she lacked the ability to sit, needed to stand in a hot tub for 15 hours a day and was inactive and in constant back pain. She also claimed she could do no manual labor.

Though, as the prosecutor wrote, there was video evidence and testimony showing that she mowed her lawn, shoveled snow, "carried around heavy pails of yard waste, raked leaves, and otherwise meticulously cared for her garden and award-winning lawn.”

Perry also noted that Gutman's husband admitted during cross-examination that his wife actually did not spend 15 hours a day in the hot tub.

In April 2013, Gutman told a doctor she is essentially homebound and does not shop. Then low and behold, later that day, federal investigators photographed her shopping at several locations "without any apparent distress or outward evidence of pain,” Perry wrote.

He also stated, "In spinning her many tall tales, the defendant was careful to avoid detection and she did so successfully for many years at great expense to the public.”

Scullin ordered Gutman to report to prison on January 17th.

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Categories: Scandalous Schemes