ALBANY, NEW YORK – A jury today convicted Carol-Lisa Gutman, age 62, of Delmar, New York, of conducting a 15-year fraud scheme in which she received about $429,000 in federal disability benefits.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Eileen Neff, Special Agent in Charge for the Northeast Area of the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General.
Following a 6-day trial, Gutman was convicted of five counts of wire fraud, two counts of federal employees’ compensation fraud, and one count of theft of government money.
The evidence at trial demonstrated that Gutman began receiving federal workers’ compensation benefits in 1987, after claiming to have injured her back while working for the United States Postal Service. From that time forward, Gutman claimed to be completely disabled, regularly reporting to her doctors that she was essentially housebound and lacked the ability to do any substantial amount of bending, lifting, carrying, or even sitting. Gutman also reported that she spent 15 hours each day in a large hot tub in order to obtain relief for her back pain and that she did not perform household-related tasks.
The evidence at trial included hours of video recordings from 2011, 2012 and 2013, showing Gutman working in her yard, performing activities such as raking leaves, mowing the lawn, carrying large pails of yard waste, and bending over repeatedly. Gutman received more than $429,000 in workers’ compensation benefits between September 2001 and April 2016, the time period covered by the indictment.
Gutman will be sentenced in Syracuse on October 26, 2016, by Senior U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr., who presided over the trial. Gutman faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, along with an order that she pay restitution to the government. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.
This case was investigated by the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael F. Perry.