Sidelined

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14180131 - young adult man suffering from severe shoulder pain

Not all professional athletes make millions of dollars. For those not in the top tiers of their sports, such as players in semiprofessional leagues, having a second job in the off-season is not unusual. Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” tells about an Oklahoma City football player who claimed to have been sidelined by an on-the-job injury while working his second job at the county Sheriff’s office, qualifying him for workers’ compensation benefits. (But the play-by-play reveals a different take on the action.)

Apparently, this member of the Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters needed a little extra income over and above his football paycheck. (It turns out he was in it for more bounty than he deserved)

While working in his law enforcement position, he claimed he injured his knee while kicking a punching bag during a training exercise. As a result of the supposed on-duty injury, he received more than $1,300 in workers’ compensation benefits. (Personal foul!)

The semipro athlete was released by his doctor for regular duties. Three months later, he saw a different doctor and presented additional injury to his knee, claiming it happened while working at the Sheriff’s office. Along the way, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office got involved and found inconsistencies with the information he provided to his doctor. (Also, none of the witnesses at work recalled seeing him get injured.) Investigators later discovered that the man had been injured while playing football. (I guess it’s pretty hard to file for workers’ compensation if your job requires you to get sacked regularly by opponents who weigh more than you.)

This fraudster pleaded guilty to two counts of workers’ compensation fraud and was given two years of probation. He is also required to pay back $1,373.63 in restitution.

This man decided not to play by the rules when he defrauded his state’s workers’ compensation benefits plan, scoring only for himself.Perhaps it’s time to punt the idea of being a professional football player and take a job with a lesser chance of debilitating impacts. (Though I’m guessing a continued career in law enforcement is no longer an option.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”OKC semipro football player pleads guilty to workers compensation fraud,” published by the Journal Inquirer on July 15, 2016.

OKLAHOMA CITY —A semiprofessional football player from Oklahoma City pleaded guilty on two counts of worker compensation fraud.

According to court documents, Jason Fitch collected worker compensation benefits from the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office while he was playing football for the Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters.

But none of the witnesses who were there remember seeing him get injured, according to court documents. Later on, the Oklahoma attorney general’s office discovered evidence that he had really been injured while playing football.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.