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March 21, 2000

State seeks $86,000 from Eastern Washington man in fraud case

TUMWATER - The state has ordered a 41-year-old Eastern Washington man to pay back more than $86,000 after an investigation showed that he collected workers' compensation benefits illegally for almost two years.

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) issued a fraud order to William Obert Conklin of Addy, Stevens County. A department investigator discovered Conklin had worked as a dairy milker in Addy, Washington from October 1997 to August 1999.

During that period, Conklin filed periodic statements with L&I saying he was disabled and could not work. He was receiving workers' compensation benefits for an accepted claim following an on-the-job accident while working at the Tacoma Steam plant as a laborer.

Labor & industries paid $57,511 in time-loss benefits to Conklin during the period. State law allows for an additional 50 percent penalty, bringing the repayment order to $86,267.

Labor & Industries manages the workers' compensation system in Washington. It oversees premium payments and benefits for about 160,000 employers and 1.8 million workers.

Anyone who suspects fraudulent activity may report it anonymously to the nearest Labor & Industries office. The telephone number can be found under the government listing in the local directory.

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