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Sept. 15, 2004

Gig Harbor woman, Monroe man ordered to repay benefits

TUMWATER — A 61-year-old Gig Harbor woman has been ordered to repay $46,039 after an investigation by the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) determined that she had collected workers’ compensation benefits while working at another job.

The department’s findings have been upheld by the Washington State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, which ordered Rosa J. Armijo of Gig Harbor to repay the state. The order against Armijo reflects the amount of money she illegally collected plus a 50 percent penalty.

An anonymous Internet tip alerted L&I fraud investigators to the fact Armijo was working full time while collecting wage-replacement benefits for a 1987 job-related injury. Injured workers are prohibited from working at other jobs while they are collecting pension or time-loss benefits.

The appeals board also affirmed L&I’s order that Gerald Wright, 39, of Monroe, repay $16,153 in time-loss payments and penalties. The department’s investigation found that Wright repaired vehicles and drove a tow truck while collecting wage-replacement benefits for an injury he suffered in 2002.

The pursuit of workers who collect benefits they aren’t entitled to is part of a broader effort by the agency to crack down on fraud and abuse, return injured workers to a job they are capable of doing as quickly as is medically appropriate and improve the management of workplace-injury claims. The anti-fraud effort targets workers, employers and health-care providers who cheat the workers’ compensation system. Anyone who suspects fraudulent activity may report it anonymously online at www.Fraud.LNI.wa.gov or by calling toll-free at 1-888-811-5974.

L&I manages the state's workers' compensation system, which provides workers’ compensation coverage for about 160,000 employers and 1.9 million workers. In addition to providing benefits to injured workers, the system protects employers from the cost of claims that can last a lifetime, and from tort lawsuits that could result from workplace injuries.

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For media information: Robert T. Nelson, L&I Public Affairs, 360-902-6043 or nelq235@LNI.wa.gov or visit the L&I News and Media Center at www.LNI.wa.gov/News.

Anyone who suspects fraudulent activity may report it anonymously at Fraud.LNI.wa.gov or by calling toll-free at 1-888-811-5974.

Broadcast version

The Department of Labor & Industries has ordered a Gig Harbor woman and a Monroe man to repay workers’ compensation benefits they collected while working full time at other jobs.

The department said Rosa Armijo has been ordered to repay more than $46,000 in benefits and penalties. Gerald Wright of Monroe was ordered to more than $16,000 in time-loss benefits and penalties.

The department’s orders have been upheld by the state Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals.

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