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July 1, 1998

Judge orders Montesano man to pay restitution in workers' comp fraud case

TUMWATER - A Montesano man has been ordered to pay $3,000 restitution to the state Department of Labor & Industries after pleading guilty recently to a theft charge connected to a workers' compensation fraud case.

A Grays Harbor Superior Court judge sentenced Jeffrey L. Bowers, 30, to make restitution and perform 240 hours of community service. Bowers will also be under court supervision for 24 months. He pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted theft.

An investigation by Labor & Industries revealed that Bowers helped an employee during 1994 and 1995 to illegally receive about $12,500 in workers' compensation benefits.

Bowers provided false documents about the worker's employment and lied to an investigator when questioned, according to records. The department investigation examined business licenses, building permits, checking accounts and records of transactions Bowers made with suppliers of building materials. The investigator also spoke with former customers of Bowers.

Bowers had been operating New Look Construction Co. at the time.

The department is continuing an investigation into the case of the employee.

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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