That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles

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hand holding American dollar currency isolated on blurred blackground injured woman with broken hand and green cast on arm, insurance health concept.

Former U.S. Postal Service employee Christine O’Neill, of Johnson City, N.Y., has been sentenced for committing workers compensation fraud. She will serve three years on probation for profiting from baking cookies and cakes, while also receiving federal workers compensation payments.

O’Neill ran her own baking business, Chris’ Cookies and Cakes, where she prepared and delivered cakes and cookies to customers. That’s all fine and good, however, she did so while collecting workers compensation benefits. (That’s like watching a carefully prepared and baked souffle deflate.) 

During periods of time in 2015 and 2016, O’Neill, 61, made false statements and representations to qualify for and receive federal workers compensation benefits. She claimed she was unemployed and not involved in any business enterprises during that time. (Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, she was cooking up a fraud scheme.)

She defrauded the U.S. Postal Service of $46,287. (Who knows? Perhaps she used those funds to get her bakery business up and running.) 

The former Broome County postal employee claimed she had injured her back while on-the-job and was unable to work for the Postal Service. (That wasn’t exactly true.) Investigators caught her in the act at a local craft fair where she was selling baked goods. In fact, O’Neill sold some of her creations to an undercover agent and handed them a business card. (The proof was in the pudding so to speak.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Former Postal Employee Sentenced For Worker’s Compensation Fraud,” dated March 23, 2021.

BINGHAMTON, NEW YORK – Christine O’Neill, age 61, of Johnson City, New York, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy to serve three (3) years on probation for defrauding the U.S. Postal Service and U.S. Department of Labor of $46,287 by making false statements and representations to obtain federal workers compensation benefits, announced Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon and Matthew Modafferi, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Postal Service-Office of Inspector General, Northeast Area Office.

O’Neill falsely represented that she was not employed, self-employed, or involved in any business enterprise during periods of time in 2015 and 2016 when she was collecting federal workers compensation benefits. She was receiving benefits based upon a claimed injury to her back that she said made her unable to perform any work functions for the Postal Service.  In fact, O’Neill ran her own company, Chris’ Cookies and Cakes, preparing and delivering cakes and cookies to customers during the times she collected benefits. Agents videotaped O’Neill selling baked goods at a local craft fair during the course of their investigation and bought baked goods from O’Neill who provided the undercover agent with a business card.

 

 

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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.