A business owner from Stanwood, Washington will be serving a year in prison for reportedly defrauding multiple agencies of workers’ compensation benefits. According to court documents associated with this case, Richard Stalkfleet pocketed about $295,000 in workers’ compensation benefits from November 2004 through November 2011 all while running a successful business that took in upwards of $500,000 each year.
Stalkfleet, who was running a business that transported wood chips from lumber yards to farms, had been collecting about $3,000 in workers’ compensation benefits on a monthly basis from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries and the Teamsters Pension Trust. Over the course of his eight-year fraud scheme, Stalkfleet reportedly pocketed about:
- $135,000 in workers’ comp benefits
- $92,000 in SSA disability benefits
- $69,000 in benefits from the Teamsters Pension Trust.
How the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Came to Light
Law enforcement officials reportedly first became aware of Stalkfleet’s workers’ compensation fraud when, in 2011, he got into a fight with his stepson, whose name the woodchip transporting business was in. Over the course of the months-long investigation, detectives:
- Witnessed Stalkfleet driving trucks (when he had stated in his benefits claims applications that he was unable to perform this activity)
- Interviewed customers of his woodchip business, who all stated that Stalkfleet himself was perceived to be the business owner because he was operating the company on a day-to-day basis.
Following the conviction in Stalkfleet’s criminal trial, prosecutors urged the judge to hand down a prison sentence because, as they explained, Stalkfleet had taken advantage of systems that are intended to help those who can’t earn a living and because he had done so while earning millions from his own business over the course of years.
Although it is currently unclear how much Stalkfleet will have to pay in court-ordered restitution fines, it is likely that these fines will end up being hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to repay the various agencies for the benefits he fraudulently claimed.
Colorado Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Office of Michael P. Dominick
If you have sustained a workplace injury and are considering (or in the process of) filing a workers’ compensation claim, you cannot rely upon your employer or insurance companies to look out for your best interests. In fact, both your employer and insurance companies will be more focused on their own bottom lines instead of your current and future wellbeing. This can make the system adversarial for injured workers and potentially even put them in situations in which their legitimate workers’ compensation claims are undercut or even flat-out denied.
In such cases, it’s essential that injured workers contact the Colorado workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Office of Michael P. Dominick. Our legal professionals are experienced at going up against corporate lawyers and insurance companies, and we have a proven track record of success when it comes to securing our Clients the maximum possible compensation for their injuries and financial losses. For a thorough evaluation of your case, along with expert advice on the best manner in which to move forward, call us at (303) 447-2644.