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Seattle cabbie must repay Washington state for pension fraud

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April 15, 2014

Seattle – A Seattle cab driver who defrauded Washington state of workers' compensation benefits must pay back the state and spend 20 days in confinement.

King County Superior Court Judge Carol A. Shapira on Friday sentenced Shahin I. Shahin to 20 days in jail, credited him for one day served and agreed to let him serve the remaining time in electronic home monitoring.

Judge Shapira also ordered Shahin, 53, to repay the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) more than $14,000 for workers' comp benefits he received.

Felony theft

Shahin pleaded guilty last month to one felony count of first-degree theft for defrauding the state from October 2008 to May 2012, according to the Washington Attorney General's Office.

During that period, he was receiving disability pension payments from L&I and signing official documents stating he was not employed and could not work due to a job-related injury.

Changed his name

An L&I investigation, however, revealed that Shahin had legally changed his name from Walid I. Shahin to Shahin I. Shahin, and was using the new name in a job driving taxis.

L&I continued to know him as Walid I. Shahin because he never reported his name change nor his work as a taxi driver to the department. He even passed two medical exams under the new name, clearing him to drive a cab.

Shahin originally filed for workers' compensation in 1996 after he was struck by a freight elevator door while he worked at a Seattle restaurant.

Report fraud

L&I investigates allegations of fraud involving the state workers' compensation system, and refers cases for prosecution to the Washington Attorney General and county prosecutors. To report suspected fraud, go to www.lni.wa.gov or call 1-888-811-5974.

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For media information: Debby Abe, L&I Public Affairs, debby.abe@lni.wa.gov, (360) 902-6043

Connect with L&I: Facebook (facebook.com/laborandindustries) and Twitter (twitter.com/lniwa)

Broadcast version:
A Seattle cab driver who defrauded Washington state of workers' compensation benefits must pay back the state and spend 20 days in confinement.

King County Superior Court Judge Carol A. Shapira on Friday sentenced Shahin I. Shahin to 20 days in jail, credited him with one day served, and agreed to let him to serve the remaining time in electronic home monitoring. Judge Shapira also ordered the 53-year-old man to repay the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) more than $14,000 for workers' comp benefits he received.

Shahin pleaded guilty last month to one felony count of first-degree theft. Shahin was receiving pension disability payments when an L&I investigation found that he was working as a cab driver under a new name. He even passed two medical exams under the new name, clearing him to drive a cab.

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