Montana Postal Employee Gets Prison, Ordered to Pay Almost $1.0 Million for Workers Comp Fraud

11/30/17 GREAT FALLS – The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that Deborah Joy Durand, a 55-year-old resident of Fruitland, Idaho, was sentenced to 15 months in prison, two years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $903,316.48 in restitution and forfeiture.  U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris Morris presided over the sentencing hearing.

At trial, the government presented the following evidence.  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.  But instead of returning to work when capable, Durand obtained total disability status.  Special Agents from the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General obtained evidence 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.

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Durand also participated in other physical activities including a lengthy three-day kayaking trip where she paddled approximately 30 miles in open ocean water, among other strenuous physical activities. 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.

At trial, Durand was convicted of four counts of fraud related to obtaining workers’ compensation benefits.  In total, Durand received over $664,828.16 based on her claims for workers’ compensation.  Of that amount, she received $238,488.32 for wages, despite having the ability to work at least a desk job at the Post Office.

U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme stated, “The Federal Worker’s Compensation Program is there to help the truly injured.  The public should be assured that individuals who defraud that Program in Montana will be held accountable. I applaud the efforts of the USPS Office of Inspector General and Ryan Weldon of our office in bringing this case to justice.”

This case was investigated by the USPS Office of Inspector General.  Acting Executive Special Agent-in-Charge Jeff Krafels 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 and sentence in this case are 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.”

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the truth in sentencing guidelines mandate that Durand will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court.  In the federal system, Durand does have the opportunity to shorten the term of custody by earning credit for good behavior.  However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

 

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

8 thoughts on “Montana Postal Employee Gets Prison, Ordered to Pay Almost $1.0 Million for Workers Comp Fraud

  1. nice story but………….at our Plant PD&C outside of NY City we had a former plant manager involved in fraud, theft, & kickbacks………upper po mismanagement hid him in West Virginia for a few years and now he is at Elephant Plaza, Washington, DC…..crime with no punishment. the only problem with the aforementioned story is that she was not connected and protected by the po mismanagers.
    In Addition, funny that the OIG turns a blind eye to the fraud PFP bonus scam based on phony mail counts………is it because they get their palm greased with PFP bonus scam money too? theft is theft and no one is above the law except hillary clinton. I always knew this former plant manager was a crook, when he was a stupidvisor he had two mechanics work on his truck, on company time, and paid them with two $500 dollar cash incentive awards. Marvin Runyon was correct when he told bill clinton that the PO MISMGT was 50% overstaffed…….now it is around 80%….we all know what happened to poor old Marvin. now you know the rest of the story.

  2. Robert and Big Red, I totally agree. I’ve been out of leave since 2/2017 and my family is about to lose everything. I just got denied at my appeal hearing. Although totally disabled to back injuries and knee injury they only have me accepted for “sprains and strains”. I had no idea it was more than that at first because my Dr was incompetent. Had to go to specialty hospital at John Hopkins in Baltimore to get any help. Now they won’t even pay the mileage because it’s over 100 miles round trip. What do you do when you live in the middle of no where and can’t cross state lines? Beyond fed up and owed $60,000+ in lost wages. They do NOT care and writing a medical narrative to suit them is just insane. Left the quacks and now OWCP denied my change of physician. This is insanity. Any advice would be appreciated. I fell on icy sidewalk by my reserved parking spot at the mail processing center reporting to work for tour 1 in 2/2015

  3. Federal workers compensation is the biggest sham going! They hope you die before they pay out one red cent. We have working personnel gimping around with limited hours because of there injury/injuries. One and a half years awaiting back payments and back leave that had to be used to survive. Most of all, managements false and misleading statements on the injured workers forms for benefits. they are finally pushed into hiring a lawyer to represent them and when there hearing occurs hoping they win there case. How do they sleep at night Big sham!!!!!!

    • Sorry to burst your bubble, but I did everything I was asked to do, by doctors supervisors, claims examiners AND DIL! I saw there Dr. who claimed I am totally disabled. I didn’t ask to have that status, HE labeled me with it. Yet, when MY Dr. claims I have PTSD, the USPS and DOL deny it, even they had pullenty of evudence to accept the claim. At the same time i filed for Social Security Disability, for PTSD and it is accepted! First time I filed! This files down to the Judge and the Prosecutor working together for years on fraud cases. I NEVER worked in Montana, they decided to hold the trial in Great Falls, because my public defender had never been in trial for anything near this! He had to get with a specialist OWCP LAW attorney for a CRASH course on how to handle this.
      The only reason I was convicted and sentenced was to be an example to other workers comp employees to be on it for so long. For me, 14 years!
      It seems like they looked through the OWCP rolls and picked the one who’d been on there the longest. I guess I was the winner!
      Yes, i fed my horses, forked hay to them, carried the trash to the curb, got the mail out of the mailbox, mowed the lawn. But, never I mean NEVER jogged or ran! I can’t, i have weak ankles, have since I was little, and weak knees! Horseback riding twice a week with my husband? HE HATES HORSES! He had never even ridden one, well he’s sat on one for a picture in our back yard once and sat on another as it hauled him up a hill.
      I love hiking, that was one of my goals when I was in Physical therapy for about 6 months. To be able to do my ADL’S, Average Daily Living. Fir 6 months i arm biked, pedaled, did some aqua therapy and much more.
      The 2 doctors that saw me 8 and 9 years ago, stated I coerced, imposed my will on them. The THREE Dr.s I have now saw the same videos, with anything showing my discomfort, limited mobility, left side weakness and sciatica removed by the undercover agents. Those THREE Dr.s told the agent that they didnt see anything that was out of my capabilities, that what they saw was someone enjoying a wonderful excursion for people with my disabilities. Veterans with PTSD go on white water rafting for relief of the daily issues of PTSD.I wouldn’t want to. Out of a 3 day trial about my life, the prosecution had 2 days to parade experts, kayak tour guide (who couldn’t remember how many miles we kayaked! Actually 10-12 miles over 3 days), Dr’s and the neighbor. The kayak trip was offered to me as a mystery shopper for a cruise shore excursion. This company was being watched for not providing handicapped or those with disabilities the accommodations they advertised. So, supposedly, 2 others and I went on this venture. I journaled every day, food we ate, what we saw, the sleeping arrangements, the equipment and the guide! I did my best to participate in everything offered to provide a very fair recommendation, or not, of THIS excursion. We paddled on glass top ocean in a tandem kayak. Shared packing and kayaking.Resting frequently and taking pictures. I had support behind my back, a pelvic belt and enough iPods to knock a horse Out! Morphine and Percocet.
      So, as you might say, i was railroaded and because they needed an EXAMPLE, well I’m it.

    • I’m so Sorry! I meant the reply for the guy before you! I agree with your statement! I went back to work Limited Duty 3 different times. The last time I got so much harassment from the USPS, that my doctor told me that i wasn’t going back there and diagnosed me with PTSD! This kayak trip offered me an opportunity to help other people receive enjoyment with a well qualified excursion company.
      I never have had a disability rating nor comprehensive evaluation. The DIL doctor was supposed to do that, but he diagnosed me as totally disabled.

  4. Dishonest crooks like this make everyone look bad; especially those with legitimate claims, injuries and disabilities.

    • I am so srry! This was meant for the next guy!! You are dead on! The USPS didn’t want to mess with me until now. I’d worked limited duty 3 times, before the harassment from supervisors, co-workers and postmaster put me over the edge..thus PTSD.

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but I did everything I was asked to do, by doctors supervisors, claims examiners AND DIL! I saw there Dr. who claimed I am totally disabled. I didn’t ask to have that status, HE labeled me with it. Yet, when MY Dr. claims I have PTSD, the USPS and DOL deny it, even they had pullenty of evudence to accept the claim. At the same time i filed for Social Security Disability, for PTSD and it is accepted! First time I filed! This files down to the Judge and the Prosecutor working together for years on fraud cases. I NEVER worked in Montana, they decided to hold the trial in Great Falls, because my public defender had never been in trial for anything near this! He had to get with a specialist OWCP LAW attorney for a CRASH course on how to handle this.
      The only reason I was convicted and sentenced was to be an example to other workers comp employees to be on it for so long. For me, 14 years!
      It seems like they looked through the OWCP rolls and picked the one who’d been on there the longest. I guess I was the winner!
      Yes, i fed my horses, forked hay to them, carried the trash to the curb, got the mail out of the mailbox, mowed the lawn. But, never I mean NEVER jogged or ran! I can’t, i have weak ankles, have since I was little, and weak knees! Horseback riding twice a week with my husband? HE HATES HORSES! He had never even ridden one, well he’s sat on one for a picture in our back yard once and sat on another as it hauled him up a hill.
      I love hiking, that was one of my goals when I was in Physical therapy for about 6 months. To be able to do my ADL’S, Average Daily Living. Fir 6 months i arm biked, pedaled, did some aqua therapy and much more.
      The 2 doctors that saw me 8 and 9 years ago, stated I coerced, imposed my will on them. The THREE Dr.s I have now saw the same videos, with anything showing my discomfort, limited mobility, left side weakness and sciatica removed by the undercover agents. Those THREE Dr.s told the agent that they didnt see anything that was out of my capabilities, that what they saw was someone enjoying a wonderful excursion for people with my disabilities. Veterans with PTSD go on white water rafting for relief of the daily issues of PTSD.I wouldn’t want to. Out of a 3 day trial about my life, the prosecution had 2 days to parade experts, kayak tour guide (who couldn’t remember how many miles we kayaked! Actually 10-12 miles over 3 days), Dr’s and the neighbor. The kayak trip was offered to me as a mystery shopper for a cruise shore excursion. This company was being watched for not providing handicapped or those with disabilities the accommodations they advertised. So, supposedly, 2 others and I went on this venture. I journaled every day, food we ate, what we saw, the sleeping arrangements, the equipment and the guide! I did my best to participate in everything offered to provide a very fair recommendation, or not, of THIS excursion. We paddled on glass top ocean in a tandem kayak. Shared packing and kayaking.Resting frequently and taking pictures. I had support behind my back, a pelvic belt and enough opiods to knock a horse Out! Morphine and Percocet.
      So, as you might say, i was railroaded and because they needed an EXAMPLE, well I’m it.

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