A former postal worker received hundreds of thousands of dollars in disability benefits for about a decade after reporting a work-related back injury, prosecutors said.
But during those years, the man was caught traveling, fishing and weightlifting despite “allegations of a debilitating injury”, prosecutors said.
Now he is going to jail.
Utley’s defense attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from
Claimants can submit a claim for benefits by providing medical evidence to support their work-related injury, prosecutors said. The program then requires employees with disabilities to regularly report any changes in their medical condition and any new sources of income or employment.
Utley began receiving benefits in
Utley received both lump sum payments dating back to his reported injury and regular monthly disability benefit payments ranging from approximately
Court documents say that despite reports of his ‘painful and debilitating medical conditions’, Utley only spent
As part of his testimony, Utley told authorities he had no back injuries prior to the 2009 incident, prosecutors said. But court documents show Utley did not report he was involved in at least nine car crashes before 2009, in which he filed multiple lawsuits for neck and back injuries.
Prosecutors said Utley also failed to report more than one hundred thousand dollars in insurance settlement payments he received as a result of the crashes.
Court documents show Utley also ran several businesses during the time he received disability benefits.
Prosecutors said that despite “allegations of a debilitating work-related back injury,” Utley posted multiple photos on social media between 2015 and 2019 showing him weightlifting, cycling in the mountains , to fish a trevally 3 feet long and to visit the
Utley was also caught on surveillance video in his
Following a medical examination in 2017, a doctor determined that Utley could return to work at
Prosecutors said “had Utley complied with his reporting requirements, he would not have received the disability benefits at issue in this case” and added that Utley’s false reports cost
Utley is also sentenced to two years of probation, according to court records. As part of his conviction, he will have to pay
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