On Thursday, July 20, 2017, Joseph Scimone, 72 of Stoneham pleaded guilty to one count under Title 18, § 1920 of the United States Code, charging federal workers’ compensation fraud in the Federal District Court for Massachusetts. of U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler, sentenced Mr. Scimone to three months’ probation, the payment of a a fine of $2,500 and restitution of $24,906.
On federal workers’ compensation since 2011
Mr. Scimone was a former employee of the United States Postal Service who was receiving compensation under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act, the federal equivalent of the state workers’ compensation system. The federal act provided income replacement to civilian employees of the U.S. Government who sustained an injury while performing their official duty. Mr. Scimone has been on workers’ compensation since 2011.
Bogus travel costs for visits to local gyms
According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, the former U.S. Postal Service employee submitted dozens of false travel vouchers for his alleged travel to various fitness centers in Lexington, Lynnfield and Bedford on dates in which he either did not use the gym or rather used another gym nearer to his home.
From 2011 until 2017, Mr. Scimone submitted these fraudulent submissions which results in a total of $24,906 dollars in false travel voucher reimbursements.
An investigation of Mr. Scimone’s submissions by postal inspectors established that Mr. Scimone had not actually used the gyms on those dates when he sought travel expenses or had used a gym closer to his home but put in for travel to a different gym that was substantially further from the one he actually had used.
Single count information in lieu of indictment
When Mr. Scimone was confronted with the postal inspectors’ evidence of his fraud, he did not deny his guilt and after obtaining counsel agreed to plead guilty to a one count information that was filed on May 22, 2017.
The United States Attorney charged him with the misdemeanor of “knowingly and willfully making and using a false statement in connection with the application for and receipt of compensation…” where the benefits obtained did not exceed $1,000.00. Under Title 18 § 1920 of the United States Code this lesser offense carried a maximum of one year in prison.
An allegation in the information that the benefits obtained had exceeded $1,000.00, would have made Mr. Scimone’s crime a felony carrying up to five years in prison. Apparently as part of a plea bargain the U.S. Attorney agreed to file this lesser charge in the information. However, as part of the plea agreement Mr. Scimone was required to pay into an escrow account with his privately retained attorney $30,000.00 to be used to pay any restitution of fines upon sentencing.
Who prosecuted this case
Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb and Eileen Neff, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General, Northeast Area Office, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugenia M. Carris of Weinreb’s Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted the case.