Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Former Postal Employee Admits to Collecting Federal Worker’s Compensation Benefits While Also Working on Electric Scooters in Downtown St. Louis

September 1, 2023
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READ FULL ARTICLE AT » United States Department of Justice

BENTON, Ill. – In a U.S. District courtroom Thursday, a former U.S. Postal Service carrier technician admitted to federal charges of making false statements to continue receiving worker’s compensation benefits while he was also working to service electric scooters in downtown St. Louis.

Torre C. Dilworth, 52, of Belleville, Illinois, pleaded guilty to two counts of making false statements to obtain federal employees’ compensation. For the charges, the maximum penalties are up to five years imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine per count.

“The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act helps families keep up with their financial obligations when an employee is injured beyond their ability to stay on the job at full capacity,” said U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe. “Individuals who choose to make false statements in order to continue to receive benefits will be held in full account of the law.”

“The U.S. Postal Service paid $1.31 billion in workers’ compensation costs in fiscal year 2022. The majority of postal employees who collect compensation benefits have legitimate claims due to on-the-job injuries and are truly unable to perform any postal jobs. However, a small percent abuse the system and cost the Postal Service millions of dollars in fraudulent claims and enforcement costs,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Scott Pierce, Central Area Field Office, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General. “This guilty plea sends a clear message that workers’ compensation fraud is a federal crime, which carries serious consequences. The USPS OIG and the U.S. Attorney’s Office remain committed to safeguarding the integrity of the workers’ compensation program and ensuring the accountability and integrity of U.S. Postal Service employees.”

According to court documents, Dilworth was injured on the job while working as a carrier technician for the U.S. Postal Service in November 2014. As a result of his injury, he received worker’s compensation benefits under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act, which is administered by the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs.

To manage the FECA program, OWCP requires recipients to submit forms to disclose other employment or business ventures. OWCP uses the forms to periodically determine whether the recipient’s benefits should be reduced based upon increased wage-earning capacity.

From at least July 2019 until at least February 2023, Dilworth performed work for Bird Rides, a company that provides electric scooters for rent in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. During this same time period, Dilworth created a business enterprise known as “Electric Eagle” through which he serviced Bird Ride’s scooters. Through the work he performed for Bird Rides, Dilworth earned more than $220,000. On the forms that he submitted to the OWCP, Dilworth falsely stated that he had not performed any work, nor was he involved in any business enterprises, within the past 15 months.

Dilworth’s sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 6, 2023. The U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General is conducting the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Verseman is prosecuting the case.

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