Washington Construction Worker Charged With Workers’ Comp Fraud After Double Dipping

A former Tri-Cities construction worker who said an on-the-job injury made him too disabled to work now faces a felony theft charge.

The Washington Attorney General’s Office has charged Richard Robson Trott, 47, with first-degree theft of workers’ compensation benefits. He’s accused of fraudulently receiving more than $10,236 in wage-replacement checks last year from the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

The charge stems from an L&I investigation that was triggered by comparing state records.

Trott is scheduled to be arraigned in Franklin County Superior Court on Tuesday, Sept. 29. He has lived in Pasco and West Richland; his last known address was in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“Some people may think cheating the system is easy money, but it’s not,” said Elizabeth Smith, assistant director of L&I’s Fraud Prevention & Labor Standards. “We regularly catch workers’ comp crooks by cross-checking L&I data with that of other public agencies.”

Claims too injured to work

Trott filed a claim for L&I workers’ compensation benefits in May 2014, after he was hurt working for a construction firm, charging papers said. Trott, who twisted his right knee while stepping off a ladder at a Moses Lake job site, repeatedly submitted official documents claiming he couldn’t work because of the injury.

He received medical services and wage-replacement payments from L&I until early September of last year.

Criminal history

Later, a routine cross-check of L&I and Employment Security Department data showed that Trott was earning wages from two construction firms − one based in Battle Ground and the other in Selah − during the same period he stated he was unable to work, charging papers said.

This isn’t Trott’s first brush with the law. His previous convictions include second-degree theft, unlawful issuance of a check, attempted felony harassment, fourth-degree assault and other crimes, according to court records. He also has several active arrest warrants stemming from failing to pay fines or restitution.