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June 17, 1998

Labor & Industries seeks almost $104,000 from Spokane man in fraud case

TUMWATER - The state Department of Labor & Industries is ordering a Spokane man to repay nearly $104,000 after an investigation showed that he collected workers' compensation benefits illegally for almost three years.

Labor & Industries issued a fraud order to Keith Paulsen, 41, 310 N. Raymond Road. Department investigators discovered Paulsen had worked in Montana and Wyoming from July 14, 1994, to March 17, 1997. During this period, Paulsen filed periodic statements with Labor & Industries saying he was disabled and could not work.

He had filed an accepted claim following an on-the-job accident while driving a truck in Washington.

The investigation showed Paulsen managed a retirement center in Montana from July 1994 to August 1995 and then ran motels in Montana and Wyoming from September 1995 to November 1996. He also sought other employment during this period and told prospective employers that he had no problems that would affect his ability to work.

Labor & Industries paid $69,131 in time-loss benefits to Paulsen during the period. State law allows for an additional 50 percent penalty, which brings the repayment order to $103,696.

Labor & Industries manages the workers' compensation system in Washington. It oversees premium payments and benefits for 157,000 employers and 1.4 million workers.

Anyone who suspects fraudulent activity may report anonymously to the nearest Labor & Industries office.

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