A Fall River, Massachusetts man working on the “Big Dig” was sentenced to jail for collecting disability benefits totaling more than $64,000 while, at the same time, holding down other jobs, Attorney General Tom Reilly announced.
John Garceau, 49, of Fall River, pleaded guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to one count each of workers’ compensation fraud and larceny over $250. Suffolk Superior Court Judge Carol Ball sentenced Garceau to one year in the House of Corrections with nine months to serve and the balance suspended for one year of probation.
Workers who are injured on the Central Artery Project are paid through the insurance company that administers an “insurance fund” which is 85% funded by the federal government and 15% funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Garceau, was one of three people separately indicted in February along with Horman Carcamo, 29, of Chelsea and William Woolf, 37, of North Carolina, for allegedly working while collecting a total of $114,440 in workers’ comp benefits after claiming to be injured on the job at the Big Dig/Central Artery Project.
On Aug. 28, 2000, Garceau allegedly injured his back while working as a laborer on the Central Artery Tunnel Project for Modern Continental Construction Company. Shortly after his accident, Garceau filed a workers’ comp claim, and Modern Continental’s insurance company, National Union Insurance, a subsidiary of the American International Group Inc., was ordered to pay Garceau total disability benefits of more than $64,000.
The investigation found that while Garceau reported to be disabled and collecting benefits from November 2000 through April 2003, he worked for at least 17 other companies as a laborer.
Carcamo allegedly injured his back, chest, legs and arms in an accident on July 9, 2002 when he was working on the Central Artery Tunnel as a laborer for G & C Concrete Construction Company. Like Garceau, shortly after Carcamo’s alleged accident, he filed a workers’ comp claim with G & C’s insurer and collected $42,440 in total disability benefits since September 2002.
The Attorney General’s investigation alleges that Carcamo was collecting these benefits while simultaneously earning a living as a private contractor renovating homes.
On Nov. 2, 2002, Woolf, an electrician working on the Central Artery Tunnel for Massachusetts Electric and Construction Company, allegedly injured his back, neck, shoulder and arm when he fell from a scissor lift. Woolf allegedly filed a workers’ comp claim and received more than $8,000 in total disability benefits from November 2002 through February 2003.
Further investigation revealed that Woolf had returned to North Carolina where he allegedly worked regularly as a tattoo artist.
Carcamo pleaded guilty on Aug. 3 and was sentenced to six months in the House of Correction, suspended for three years, and ordered to pay $25,000 in restitution. Woolf defaulted at his arraignment in February 2004 and there is an oustanding warrant for his arrest.
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