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Postal worker previously accused of theft now charged with fraud

A federal indictment against a former U.S. Postal Service worker claims that the woman wrongly collected workers' compensation. Prosecutors claim that she collected these benefits for total disability while not actually suffering from physical impairments that prevented her from attending work. These accusations follow previous federal felony charges of theft of mail and embezzlement, for which she pleaded guilty to lesser misdemeanor charges.

The Colorado worker originally started with the post office in 1984 and dedicated 30 years of service to her position. In 2007, she underwent surgery for an injury to her rotator cuff and was awarded workers' compensation benefits related to the injury. In 2008, she was moved to a light duty assignment and stayed at that position until 2014. By February 2014, she had been awarded workers' compensation benefits due to her temporary total disability status. She received these benefits until April 2015.

During the time period in which she received total disability benefits, she was allegedly seen exercising at an area gym. The indictment claims that the former postal worker used multiple machines that required use of the rotator cuff. Her gym sightings allegedly followed the refusal of multiple alternative work positions with the post office, all of which she supposedly said would explicitly violate the orders from her doctor.

If convicted, her charges for wire fraud and making false statements could net her up to 25 years in federal prison, in addition to approximately $500,000 in fines. Although some in Colorado might be eager to point to previous criminal convictions regarding theft, the law demands that defendants be considered innocent regarding each and every individual charge that they face regardless of prior criminal history. As such, the prosecution must be able to prove that every aspect of her charges are true beyond any reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction.

Source: gjsentinel.com, "Former postal worker faces fraud charges", Gabrielle Porter, April 12, 2016

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