Maine Man Sentenced to 1 Year in Jail and $50,000 in Restitution in Comp Fraud Case
PORTLAND, ME, June 3, 2014 – Stephen Tucker, a 63-year-old auto mechanic from Monticello, was sentenced yesterday in Aroostook County Superior Court to serve 42 months in jail, with all but one year suspended for workers' compensation fraud. He also will serve three years probation and must pay $50,242 in restitution to MEMIC.
The scheme began with a legitimate workplace injury in 2006 when Tucker injured his left hand while working for a trucking company. In 2009, the Maine Workers' Compensation Board awarded Tucker 100% partial incapacity benefits. Proof later surfaced that he had exaggerated the degree of his disability to his doctor and vocational rehabilitation provider.
Tucker led his medical providers to believe his hand and arm were virtually useless. But MEMIC's special investigation unit uncovered the fact that he had made a significant recovery, and was operating a small engine repair business in Littleton, out of his stepson's garage. Over many hearings, he falsely testified explaining away evidence that was brought against him in the form of doctor reports, family and doctor testimony, employment status reports, private investigation reports and surveillance video. Tucker repeatedly reported that he had no earnings from his repair shop business.
The Maine Attorney General's office, through Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin, brought the case to justice and Tucker was convicted earlier this year. During sentencing, Justice Allen E. Hunter cited Tucker's failure to accept responsibility for his crimes and his failure to tell the truth during the trial as reasons for the jail sentence.
"We take no joy in Mr. Tucker having been brought to justice," said John Marr, MEMIC senior vice president of claims. "But we do have great resolve to discover and encourage proper penalty for those who commit fraud within the workers' compensation system."
"Mr. Tucker's actions contribute to a sad myth about the prevalence of this kind of crime. Most often, though, the people who use the workers' compensation system are truly in need and find themselves in the system through no fault of their own. Sadly, crimes like those of Mr. Tucker cast a long shadow on legitimate injured workers."