A former Bristol County, Massachusetts Corrections Officer has pleaded guilty to working while collecting workers’ compensation benefits, Attorney General Tom Reilly announced.
Kevin J. Mello, 39, of South Dartmouth pleaded guilty to one count each of workers’ comp insurance fraud and larceny over $250. Bristol County Superior Court Judge Robert Kane sentenced him to serve two years in the House of Correction, suspended for three years. As part of his sentence, Mello must pay full restitution of $94,657 and complete 150 hours of community service.
In 1998, Mello applied for and began receiving workers’ comp benefits due to a back injury sustained while he was on the job as a Bristol County Corrections officer. He reportedly continued to receive workers’ comp benefits until 2004. From 1998-2004, Mello submitted numerous signed earnings statements to his employer, the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office, in which he claimed to have no earnings besides his workers’ comp benefits.
Investigators found, however, that in 2000 Mello reportedly began working as a home improvement contractor in the Dartmouth/New Bedford area, primarily installing vinyl siding and windows on residential homes. Mello continued his work as a contractor until 2004. From 2000-2004, Mello reportedly worked on more than 25 residences using the names Kevin J. Mello & Sons, KJM Construction, and Kevin And Sons Carpentry.
Authorities said Mello was caught on videotape working at a construction site in South Dartmouth while collecting workers’ comp benefits for his alleged total disability. The video showed Mello cutting and installing vinyl siding on a South Dartmouth residence.
The Attorney General’s investigation found that from 2000-2004, Mello fraudulently received nearly $95,000 in workers’ comp benefits to which he was not entitled.
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