Man Pleads Guilty to First-Degree Theft in Workers' Comp Case

A 37-year-old former resident of Washington's Snohomish County, Timothy Smith, has pleaded guilty in Snohomish County Superior Court to first-degree theft after he was caught working for various employers while collecting workers' compensation payouts for a workplace injury.

Smith was working for a transmission repair company in Everett, Wash., when he injured his arm and shoulder in November 2000. He underwent surgery and collected time-loss benefits until he returned to work in August 2002. A cross-check of his name with the Department of Employment Security revealed he had been working at several other jobs while collecting benefits from the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). Following an investigation, the department turned the case over to the Snohomish County Prosecutor, who filed charges.

Smith failed to appear in court to answer charges. He eventually wound up in California, where he was arrested in January and held until he could be extradited back to Washington. L&I paid the extradition costs. Smith was sentenced to 21 days in jail and ordered to repay costs associated with bringing him back to the state.

In all, Smith owes the State Fund more than $15,000 in workers' compensation insurance benefits, penalties and interest.

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