To be successful at workers’ compensation fraud, criminals must be experts in malingering – the act of faking a physical or psychological illness for personal gain. According to an article in The Week, a postal worker from North Carolina did a great job of feigning illness and collecting disability checks for approximately nine years, until she was caught on the national television game show, “The Price Is Right,” using her injured shoulder to spin the ‘Big Wheel’. (Well, if you’re going to go out in a blaze of glory or shame, you might as well do it on national TV.)
According to the article, the woman allegedly injured her shoulder while on the job in 2004. She claimed the inability to lift mail trays into her truck and was in so much pain she was unable to stand, run, reach or grab. (That makes it kind of tough to deliver mail while being chased by neighborhood dogs.) Evidently, her $3,000 a month in workers’ compensation benefits was not enough, so she tried her luck on the “The Price Is Right” in 2009. After being chosen to “come on down” and be a contestant, she used her left shoulder and arm to make the first spin on the ‘Big Wheel’, then grabbed the wheel with both arms and made the second spin, although she claimed to investigators later that she was in pain during the entire experience.
The former postal worker’s television debut obviously raised the suspicions of investigators. Further research revealed that one year later, she was able to go zip lining with her husband while on vacation. By 2011, she was claiming that she could not stand, sit, kneel, squat, climb bend, reach or grasp. (That doesn’t leave her with a lot of options for movement.) Yet, pictures on social media revealed photos of her lifting furniture and carrying groceries with both arms.
The celebrity fraudster pleaded guilty to compensation fraud. Her sentencing is scheduled for September.
Who knows what her sentence will be, but she can’t fake her injury anymore. With no more pain, there will be no more gain.