Kalama man to pay $160,000 after alleged workers’ compensation fraud | Crime and courts

THURSTON COUNTY — A Kalama man is being asked to repay the state $160,000 after a Thurston County court found he faked an injury to collect workers’ compensation benefits.

Between January 2018 and January 2020, 53-year-old James Joseph Thomasson stole from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries and must now repay $163,566, according to L&I.

“The workers’ compensation system is meant to help injured workers heal and get back to work — not to line the pockets of cheaters,” said Celeste Monahan, deputy director of the Fraud Prevention and Standards Division of the work of L&I, in an L&I press release.

In addition to the fine, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Allyson Zipp sentenced Thomasson to 60 days of house arrest.

According to L&I, Thomasson claimed to have injured his back while using a wedge to chop down a tree in Shelton. In 2019, investigators received an anonymous tip Thomasson was active and quickly captured him on surveillance video “performing numerous physical activities inconsistent with his medically prescribed restrictions.”

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In early 2020, L&I investigators showed their footage to Thomasson’s medical provider, who said Thomasson “intentionally distorted” his injuries.

Thomasson admitted this in court, according to L&I.

Zipp granted Thomasson’s request to postpone his house arrest until the end of the fire season.

The Daily News, Longview, Wash.

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