A woman who used to serve as a Postal Service worker in Minnesota was accused of stealing disability benefits totaling over $100,000 paid to her by the federal government. The fraud that was alleged against her spanned the 3.5-plus years, leading up to May 2019. The woman has since pleaded guilty to the theft charge.
According to authorities, the woman admitted to taking part in dog-agility activities while simultaneously stealing disability benefits. Theft occurred in that she claimed that a job injury kept her from being able to work full time, which was not true. Still, she apparently convinced a doctor to declare she should limit her work efforts to a maximum of two hours’ worth of sedentary activities each day.
Authorities reported that while she was on disability, she was spotted taking part in between 30 and 40 dog-agility contests. During these contests, she was caught on video running and bending with ease. As part of the woman’s plea arrangement, it appears that she will be able to avoid prison, which would have been a sentence of between 10 and 16 months. Instead, she will likely be placed on probation and ordered to engage in community service for 109 hours. In addition, she will likely be required to make full restitution.
Anyone in Minnesota who is accused of fraud has the right to go to trial to fight the charges. Alternatively, he or she may seek to negotiate a plea agreement with prosecutors, which may result in a lighter sentence than what may result from a guilty verdict at trial. This route may be wise if the prosecution appears to have strong evidence to support its allegations. An attorney will guide the defendant in making the most personally favorable decision given the circumstances surrounding the criminal proceedings.