Former Montana Postal Employee Convicted for $693,403 Workers’ Comp Fraud

workerscompfraud8/25/2017 GREAT FALLS – The United States Attorney’s Office announced a federal court convicted Deborah Joy Durand of False Statements to Obtain Federal Employees’ Compensation Benefits, Wire Fraud, False Claims Relating to Workers’ Compensation Benefits, and Theft of Government Property.   U.S. District Judge Brian Morris presided over the 3-day trial.

At trial, the government presented evidence that Durand had a back injury from her job at the Post Office.  She had back surgery and was unable to work for a period of time.  Instead of returning to work when capable, Durand lied to her doctors, embellished her symptoms, and ultimately obtained total disability.  Agents from the Post Office conducted surveillance and saw that Durand was feeding horses, lifting hay bales, jogging in the mornings, clearing land, running chainsaws, removing stumps from fallen trees, building fences, mowing the lawn every week, riding horses twice a week, and many other physically challenging activities.

All total, Durand received over $693,403.63 based on her claims for workers’ compensation.  Of that amount, she received $268, 892.18 for wages, despite having the ability to work at least a desk job at the Post Office.

In order to further prove the case, undercover federal agents called Durand and told her she won a free kayaking trip.  During the ruse kayaking trip, Durand paddled approximately 30 miles in open ocean water over a three-day period.  During the trip, Durand hiked, lifted heavy objects, and karate-kicked and judo-chopped an object held by an undercover federal agent.  All of these activities were captured on video.

Two months after the kayaking trip, agents conducted a follow-up appointment with Durand to identify if she could work for the Post Office.  Durand had no idea that the appointment was an undercover operation.  During the interview, Durand claimed she could not sit or stand for long, and she was “totally sedentary.”  She even claimed she was unable to work in any capacity.

This case was investigated by the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General.  Executive Special Agent in Charge Joanne Yarbrough said, “The majority of Postal Service employees are dedicated, hardworking, and trustworthy professionals who would never consider engaging in criminal conduct.  However, when attempts to defraud the Federal Workers’ Compensation Program arise, those acts will not be tolerated, and they will be vigorously investigated by the USPS Office of Inspector General.  The Workers’ Compensation Program is designed to ensure that individuals injured during the performance of their duties receive appropriate medical care and compensation. The conviction in this case is a result of the commitment between the United States Attorney’s Office, and the USPS Office of Inspector General, to ensure the integrity of the Federal Workers’ Compensation Program, and to hold those accountable for defrauding the program.”

Sentencing is set for November 30, 2017, at 1:30 p.m., at the Missouri River Courthouse, in Great Falls, Montana.

17 thoughts on “Former Montana Postal Employee Convicted for $693,403 Workers’ Comp Fraud

  1. Currently trying to rebuild my body from a serious back injury myself that leaves me with limited mobility and excruciating pain even if I stay within my limitations. I cannot however fathom the idea of being dependent on a workers comp check that may or may not be in the mail to pay my mortgage and despite my limited mobility and pain I know I am far better off punching in for 40 a week with limitations than rotting away at home unable to do much to prevent complete muscular/skeletal atrophy with PI’s ready to pounce because of criminals like this Montana woman. If your tempted to stay at home, don’t, its a two edged sword.

  2. Ok….let me get this straight.

    The postal inspectors got this woman on surveillance running a chainsaw, clearing land, putting up fencing and other vigorous activities.

    But these junior G-men feel the need to commit further manpower and resources and hatch an elaborate sting operation, when they already had her dead to right…SMH

    You can’t make this crap up!!!

  3. Dayum!!!

    Where do I find a woman like this!!!…baleing hay, clearing land, working chainsaws, putting up fencing, mowing grass, kayaking three miles and doing karate!!!

    Might have to move to Montana!!!

  4. every current limited, lite, IOD should be reviewed……going ll the way back to IOD Muffin Meghan! no reason a person should still be on the active rolls when they have not stepped into a postal building for 15, 20, 25, years. just another example of how screwed up this place is and why it should be put “ON BUDGET”!

  5. The OIG should come to Mid-Island PD&C 117/119 and do a OWCP audit…………seems “PAUL” can not come to work the last 9 years due to back a twinge…………but as his face book shows he can do plenty of extreme sports that girly men on the SPBS would never attempt……but at least THEY are in the building and show up every day!

  6. well……she did OK…..but the 4 low IQ, Uneducated, moron dieversity (place dying on the vine) MDO’s we have at our Plant on Tour # 3, who collectively can not even make simple business decisions, are sucking up over 400K of payroll each year plus PFP Bonus……this is the real crime Mr OIG.

  7. If they hold the “desk jobs” for the comp frauds how will they take care of the friends, family and mistresses they put into them now? And really, how many lazy slugs go down this route that will never be caught because of that fact, too lazy to sweep a sidewalk.

    If I sound bitter, it’s only because I’m bitter. I count the days until retirement, the one that Congress is about to gut.

  8. If you are going to steal, steal something that will set you up for the rest of your life. Only thing, don’t get caught in a lie. Dumbkoff. Could still be out there, must have gotten over confident.

    • That is a huge problem that we are not hearing anything about. I’m referring to carriers throwing mail away and or bringing back DPS because they “had other things to do.” I’ve seen that many times, and know of a situation where a rural sub was caught dumping her mail into a collection box and was fired, but several years later a city carrier who just happened to have high ranking relatives up the ladder and was pretty much in like Flynn from day one had THREE at fault wrecks during his probation, bragged about “screwing” with peoples’ mail, and while he didn’t admit it, he would dump mail into collection boxes and it would show up in DPS the next day. Was management told? Of course. Just to show you how bad the favoritism is, not only was he never punished or removed, he’s a damn station manager now!
      Others have dumped circs, brought DPS back and cased mail without calling management they were late, falsified MSP scans, you name it. But what can you do when they get away with it? Now some were disciplined and a CCA was fired, but not always, and the worst people were considered “good” just to make their DOIS estimates, on routes half the size of a good carrier’s route, and if a carrier who busted their ass but missed that precious DOIS estimate or whatever “system” they use now by five or ten minutes, even though they carried far far more mail than a goof off and didn’t use overtime whereas that snail got for example an hour and a half of overtime pay for half the work, they’d get “questioned” in the morning. It shows that management has no real comprehension of craft work and have to rely on phony numbers with deliberately corrupted data to “manage”. Hell, any dumbass can paint by numbers.
      I recall one time getting chewed out (I’m retired now, thank God) for coming in about twenty-five minutes earlier than I had expected because traffic for once was light and I made some time, and while my OT request on my 3996 was approved for 20 minutes, I had an eight hour day. My “crime” was that I didn’t match DOIS’ “estimate”. I told them we city carriers didn’t give a shit about DOIS and that management couldn’t use it against us by itself as “proof” we were doing anything wrong. I said “I saved you some overtime today and performed better than expected, and so and so will carry half of what I did but if he makes his estimate when he should be back on time EVERY DAY because his route was “adjusted” to his slow ass, you don’t have a problem with it.” No response. Punish the good workers because the worst most dishonest ones will never improve. That’s the postal management way.

  9. Too bad the OIG is not as diligent about carriers throwing away mail either due to laziness or due to management intimidation. It’s so bad at my office we even put “have to deliver all of the mail” on our 3996’s. Rurals are the worst, throwing away entire sets of circs. OIG notified and did nothing. I am in NC, forget these bozos here.

    • They’re not called the Office of Incompetent Goofballs for nothing.

      Also, remember the OIG is actually just an extension of mgmt.

      Seriously.

  10. These stories always make my day! I love it when these opportunist, free loading frauds are caught red handed. There needs to be a mandatory 20 year sentence for OWCP fraud. The doctor who treated her should be fined too.

  11. If somebody isn’t faking cancer, they’re lying thieving snakes faking symptoms to get Workmen’s Comp for nothing. I could add a story or two but I won’t here because I’m not an active city carrier anymore (honorably retired in Jan. 2017), and it’s long in the past.
    What people like this woman do not consider, nor do they care, is that they make it harder for honest people with legitimate health problems have to jump through a lot more hoops because of the continuing fraud by a relative handful of very selfish and dishonest assholes.
    And people who abuse their sick leave are just as selfish. So many companies, the vast majority of them, I’ll bet, do not offer sick leave. That USPS employees (except CCA’s, which is not fair to them) have such a nice benefit works two ways: honest people don’t abuse that privilege because they know as they get older they can expect more health problems, for themselves, spouses and family. I for example had a big stash of SL, and in the matter of a couple years, starting in 2008, I had stomach, hiatal hernia and gall bladder surgery in one operation. There went six weeks. In 2010 I had really bad calcium stones in my right upper arm and lower shoulder that were horribly painful all the way to the tips of my fingers. More surgery and because of the damage I ended up with an 8 hour restriction to preserve what I had left. A few years later, an inguinal hernia, and to cap it off, right before retirement, cataract surgery. My wife is disabled and has had a foot amputated and been hospitalized many times. To make this story short, and to prove a point, I was down from close to 1300 hours of SL down to barely enough to last until retirement, using what was left for the eye surgery. We get older and we start wearing out.
    But some people just cannot understand the importance of saving as much SL as they can. Of course, nobody should be expected to work when they’re truly sick or have surgery or other health problems. However, many call in next to holidays, long weekends, days off, etc. You can set your watch by some of these abusers – the Saturday after payday when they’ve gone somewhere and got drunk and stayed out most of the night – calling in on a day they’re scheduled to work a day off, etc.
    That this usually results in splitting routes and making hard work even harder matters not to these types. They are all about themselves, and think nothing of the hardships they place other co-workers under. Workmen’s comp fraud is a serious problem, and I hope this woman has to reimburse them, and it wouldn’t hurt to get a fine, either.

  12. To the USPS OIG:

    Sirs:

    I am in total agreement with aggressively prosecuting perpetrators of fraud. But I’d like to ask, if the Office of Workmens Comp does not actively peform their duties and provide for the legitimate medical services necessary due an employee hurt in the line of duty as directed by two out of three doctors, are they not equally guilty of fraud? Who serves as their watchdog?

    I dated a supervisor who was injured when the LLV he was in was rear ended. He was sitting in the buddy seat in the rear. That was 2009. He filed every form as did his doctor, jumped through every hoop. His doctor and one chosen by OWCP recommended surgery. Yet he was denied. And put off. And denied. Again..and again. I cannot help but wonder if they hoped he would give up and take retirement.

    Eight years of suffering. Eight years to deterioate and become nearly bedridden. He died in March. Heart attack. It had become a waiting game for Comp. They “won”. SHAME!

    Certainly his death will never be connected or vindicated. But I believe his deteriorating condition was a major contributor. So again… I ask…who investigates OWCP and insures they are acting in good faith? Because if you do not…only half of your job is done.

    Respectfully,
    Vickie Richeson

    • You……. think the vaunted P.O. at the Elephant would stoop to such underhanded way of doing business?? Yeah, I can believe it easy, Mgt. is full of snakes trying to make a name for themselves. Very few in Mgt. are worth a damn. You can count them on one hand and have fingers left over.

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