Arlington, Wash., Man Ordered to Repay State $27,814

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) has ordered an Arlington man to repay $27,814 after an investigation showed he collected workers' compensation benefits illegally.

The state agency ordered Stewart Hutchens to repay $18,542.70 in time-loss and vocational benefits he collected fraudulently between November 2001 and May 2002. State law allows an additional 50 percent penalty, bringing the repayment order to $27,814.05.

Time-loss benefits partially compensate injured workers for wages lost while they're unable to work due to an injury. Hutchens was receiving time-loss benefits for an on-the-job injury he sustained in November 2000 while working for a refrigeration and heating company in Burlington.

The department opened its investigation after a cross match against Employment Security Department data showed earnings reported from two separate employers during the time period Hutchens was receiving time-loss and vocational benefits from L&I. The investigation showed Hutchens had been working as a pizza delivery driver and car salesman during a time period he reported to L&I that he was incapable of returning to work because of his on-the-job injury.

L&I manages the state's workers' compensation system. It provides coverage for more than 163,000 employers and about 1.9 million workers.

L&I is committed to preventing and fighting fraud. Anyone who suspects fraudulent activity may report it anonymously online at http://www.LNI.wa.gov/fraudwww.LNI.wa.gov/fraud or by calling 1-888-811-5974.

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