Md. Woman ‘Suffers’ Guilty Plea over Comp Fraud

September 3, 2004

A Capitol Heights, Md., woman will pay more than $1,700 in restitution to the Injured Workers’ Insurance Fund (IWIF), Maryland’s largest workers’ compensation insurance carrier, after pleading guilty to false claim in Prince George’s County District Court on August 23, 2004.

Barbara Sewell was employed with THI Inc. of Maryland, a nursing and convalescence home in Forestville, when she claimed she suffered an injury to her back, left leg, and foot.

Sewell’s employer had suspected she applied for a job while collecting temporary total disability payments from IWIF and reported the suspicion to the company’s Special Investigations Unit. IWIF’s investigation revealed Sewell had actually worked two jobs during the time she was collecting disability payments.

IWIF charged Ms. Sewell with theft and false claim. In exchange for a guilty plea to false claim and full restitution, IWIF negotiated to drop the theft charge, which carriers a stiffer penalty. Before adjourning the case, District Court Judge Northrop asked Sewell if she knew why Article 9-1106 (False Claim) refers back to Article 27 (Theft). Sewell said that she did not. The judge said, “Because it’s theft. It’s stealing. And that’s what you did.”

In addition to paying IWIF full restitution, Sewell was also ordered to pay a $300 fine, given a one-year suspended sentence, and 18 months supervised probation.

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