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August 9, 2002

Oregon farm worker ordered to repay L&I $16,649 in penalties and benefits he fraudulently collected

TUMWATER - The Department of Labor & Industries has ordered a 51-year-old former Yakima man to pay back $16,649.76 after an investigation showed he collected workers' compensation benefits illegally for two-and-a-half years.

L&I issued a fraud order to Juan Ocampo, now living in Nyssa, Ore. An investigation was started after the department received information from the claimant's attorney that Mr. Ocampo was continuing to try and work while receiving disability benefits. The information was contained in a letter requesting that Mr. Ocampo be pensioned as a totally disabled worker.

Mr. Ocampo injured his right wrist in September 1997 when he fell from a ladder while picking apples in an orchard in Zillah. L&I accepted the claim and Mr. Ocampo filed periodic statements saying he was disabled and unable to work. L&I's investigation found that Mr. Ocampo had continued to do seasonal agricultural work in Oregon under the name of Juan Trinidad.

Labor & Industries paid Mr. Ocampo $11,099.84 in time-loss benefits during the period he was continuing to work. State law allows for an additional 50 percent penalty, bringing the fraud repayment order to $16,649.76.

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