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Side Hustle

Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) workers have tough jobs. They must repetitively handle heavy bags and luggage for many hours each day, which can make it difficult to use proper lifting techniques. It’s no surprise that TSA workers have lots of problems with neck, back, and shoulder injuries, pinched nerves, strains and sprains, tendonitis and sometimes, even bone fractures. Thankfully, the U.S. Federal Government provides a safety net with workers’ compensation benefits to those who have been legitimately injured while on-the-job.

A former TSA employee from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, who sustained an injury while on the job at Newark Liberty International Airport in 2004, qualified for federal workers’ compensation benefits. (There’s just one minor problem. He neglected to inform authorities that he was triple dipping on the side.) 

While receiving federal workers’ compensation benefits, Emmanuel Papas, 52, was also working at three granite shops in the Myrtle Beach area between March 2009 and February 2020. For approximately 11 years, Papas disguised his income by either receiving payment in cash or through checks written to family members. (Sometimes it takes a village or a family, in this case, to carry out a fraud scheme.)

Papas didn’t just make a one-time mistake by lying to the government, he submitted at least eight federal forms claiming he had no outside income. (His side hustle made him ineligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.) Needless to say, Papas eventually confessed to workers’ compensation fraud. (That was a smart move seeing that they had at least eight pieces of evidence that proved he was a fraudster.)

Papas’ crime caused a loss of just under $150,000 to the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Program. He was sentenced to one year and one day of prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $148,982.42 in restitution. (Perhaps this man’s punishment will reinforce the idea that stealing government benefits is never a good idea.) 

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Former TSA officer and Myrtle Beach native sentenced for workers’ compensation fraud,” dated September 9, 2021.

FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) – A Myrtle Beach man who once served as a Transportation Security Administration officer will spend time in a federal prison for stealing from a workers’ compensation program.

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office stated Emmanuel Papas, 52, was injured on the job while he served with the TSA at Newark Liberty International Airport in 2004.

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