Roofer in Washington Caught Double-Dipping Ordered To Pay Back More Than $25K


Pierce County, WA (WorkersCompensation) -  A Washington man who was completing a roofing job while claiming that he was too disabled to work will have to repay the state more than $25,000 in workers' compensation benefits he received. 50-year-old José Guadalupe Sanchez pleaded guilty in Pierce County Superior Court to third-degree theft.

While working for a construction company in 2017 Sanchez was injured on the job when he fell 16 feet from a ladder, which resulted in multiple broken bones and a collapsed lung.  The state’s Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) accepted his workers’ compensation claim, covering his medical care and paying part of his lost wages.

L&I started investigating Sanchez last march when his employer at the time of his accident had reported that he was working for a different construction company. According to court documents, investigators discovered that Jose had been working full time in construction from mid-June 2018 through March 2019 in Lakewood, Wash. This was during the same time that he had been reportedly declaring to L&I that he wasn't able to work because of his injury from his last job.  The entire time he had led his medical providers to believe that he had not been working. 

Even though his doctors told him that he should not work or climb ladders, investigators witnessed Sanchez climbing on a roof at an apartment complex in Tacoma last March.  They also saw him using a drill while on the roof and climbing down a ladder and driving away from the job site. Investigators have stated that Sanchez did later admit that he was working because he needed to make payments on his truck and support his parents.

Based on the investigation administered by L&I, the Washington Attorney General's Office prosecuted the case. The judge ordered Sanchez to pay back the workers’ compensation benefits and serve 40 hours of community service.  He was also given two years of probation, and told if he disobeys the law could risk going to jail.


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