Faking disability leads to guilty plea

A Glenwood woman has pleaded guilty in U.S District Court in St. Paul to stealing $108,490 in federal disability benefits. Lisa Ann Schafer, 57, entered the plea in October, admitting that she received federal benefits after falsely claiming that a work-related injury prevented her from working in a full-time capacity at her job with the U.S. Postal Service.

She was convicted of one count of theft of government funds. Court documents indicate that Schafer received benefits through the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act from September 18, 2015, through May 3, 2019. Schafer reported to her doctor that her medical condition required her to rest most of the day and that she could tolerate only sedentary work. Her doctor accordingly limited her to no more than two hours of office work a day, enabling Schafer to collect FECA benefits due to her purported work-related injury.

However, during this time period, Schafer was observed participating in 30 to 40 dog-agility competitions where she was seen running, bending quickly at the waist, and using large arm movements to navigate dogs through a variety of exercises, according to court documents.

“The American public trusts that U.S. Postal Service employees will obey the law,” said John Masters, special agent with the USPS Office of the Inspector General. “When an employee of the postal service violates that trust, the Postal Service Office of Inspector General investigates those matters. Today’s plea sends a clear message that workers’ compensation fraud is a federal crime, which carries serious consequences.”

(Source: Duluth News-Tribune)