Press Release from the United States Attorney, Northern District of Ohio
(January 27, 2011) Former postal employee Norman J. Motko, Jr., 61, of Cleveland, was sentenced to five months imprisonment and ordered to pay $116,980.34 in restitution after previously pleading guilty to worker’s compensation fraud, Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, today announced.
U.S. District Judge Lesley Wells also sentenced Motko to three years of supervised release following his prison term.
On July 8, 2010, Motko pleaded guilty to one count of worker’s compensation fraud. The charge arose out of Motko’s employment as a motor vehicle services operator (truck driver) with the U.S. Postal Service and worker’s compensation payments Motko received between December 2004 and February 2008.
Motko misrepresented his medical condition when he was, in fact, able to work. He represented that he was unable to walk from the parking lot to the post office, according to court documents. In fact, he operated snow removal and lawn care businesses at the same time he was collecting worker’s compensation, according to court documents.
“These types of fraud cases need to be prosecuted vigorously, and we will continue to do so,” Dettelbach said.
“The U.S. Postal Service pays over $1 billion annually in workers’ compensation costs,” said Eastern Area Special Agent in Charge Elizabeth A. Farcht, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General. “The majority of postal employees who collect federal workers’ compensation benefits have legitimate claims due to on-the-job injuries and are truly unable to perform any work. A small percentage, however, abuse the system and cost the Postal Service millions of dollars in fraudulent claims. This conviction and sentencing should put those who choose to defraud the system on notice that Special Agents with the USPS Office of Inspector General will aggressively investigate these cases, and present them to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution when appropriate. Last year, our workers’ compensation fraud investigations resulted in more than 90 arrests, nearly 40 convictions, and saved the Postal Service $185 million in future payments.”
James Vanderberg, Special Agent in Charge for the Chicago Region of the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, stated: “This sentence highlights the OIG’s determination to investigate fraud against the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) which provides workers’ compensation coverage to over three million Federal and Postal workers for work-related injuries or illnesses. The OIG is firmly committed to aggressively pursuing and investigating those who violate Department of Labor Programs.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip J. Tripi. The investigation preceding the indictment was jointly conducted by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General and the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.