Oregon Farm Worker Told to Repay $16,649 in Comp Fraud Case

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) has ordered a 51-year-old former Yakima man to pay back $16,649 after an investigation showed he collected workers' compensation benefits illegally for 2 1/2 years.

L&I issued a fraud order to Juan Ocampo, now living in Nyssa, Ore. An investigation began after the department received information from the claimant's attorney that Ocampo was continuing to try and work while receiving disability benefits. The information was contained in a letter requesting that Ocampo be pensioned as a totally disabled worker.

Ocampo injured his right wrist in September 1997 when he fell from a ladder while picking apples in an orchard in Zillah. L&I accepted the claim, and Ocampo filed periodic statements saying he was disabled and unable to work. L&I's investigation found that Ocampo had continued to do seasonal agricultural work in Oregon under the name of Juan Trinidad.

The department paid Ocampo $11,099 in time loss benefits during the period he continued to work. State law allows for an additional 50 percent penalty, bringing the fraud repayment order to $16,649.

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