How many workers’ compensation claims have been proven false by a video showing the claimant doing something inconsistent with his claimed injury?
Well, it’s probably a lot. And now it’s a lot plus one.
Garrett Dalton, 41, of Naugatuck, Connecticut, has been charged with workers’ compensation fraud after he collected over $5,000 for an on-the-job injury he claimed took place sometime in June 2007. Later that summer, however, while Dalton was still claiming to be too injured to work, he unwisely chose to enter a radio-station contest that required him to wear a dress, carry an egg balanced on a spoon, and run a 40-yard-dash in high heels. He either did not expect to be recognized, or was unaware that TV cameras would be present.
Someone who apparently knew Dalton was then claiming to be fully disabled saw him on TV sprinting around in pumps, and called authorities.
Under Connecticut law, workers’ comp fraud exceeding $2,000 is a Class B felony punishable by up to twenty years in prison. If he gets no jail time, Mr. Dalton might be able to get his job back, but he might want to think about that. Being charged with a crime after being caught wearing a dress and running around in high heels, trying to win a pair of Hannah Montana concert tickets, may make it a little difficult to be taken seriously as a prison guard.
UPDATE: According to this ABC report, Dalton pleaded not guilty, and the state dismissed the case against him in November 2008. This is somewhat surprising given the video evidence, but there are a number of reasons why the state might decide not to prosecute. Which, I have to admit, might include innocence.