Running a halfway house at times comes with a number of stigmas that can be hard to fight. Allegedly defrauding one’s state out of more than $90,000 in workers compensation benefits can be even worse.
According to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), that is just what one individual is accused of.
Judy Darlene Chafin, 61, was charged recently in Lewis County Superior Court with one count of first-degree theft and 30 counts of forgery. The Chehalis woman received notice of the charges while in court on an unrelated drug distribution case and was allowed to remain free while the new charges are pending, according to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s office.
The charges resulted from a Department of Labor & Industries investigation into Chafin’s collecting more than $90,000 in state workers comp benefits from the fall of 2006 to August 2013.
Defendant Reportedly Injured While Working as Caregiver
Authorities say Chafin began receiving wage-replacement payments after suffering an on-the-job injury in September 2006 while working as a caregiver at Tiffin House, a long-term care home in Centralia that she did not own.
According to charging papers, Chafin submitted dozens of workers’ comp claims stating that she could not work due to the injury. In reality, Lewis County prosecutors allege, Chafin had been operating The House of the Rising Son and other homes in the Chehalis and Centralia areas for released prisoners and homeless people since the latter half of 2006.
Allegations Include Misrepresentation
Charging papers contend she provided medical care to residents, received payments from Department of Corrections to house released offenders, and represented herself as the homes’ operator when dealing with government officials.
Last year, the city of Chehalis and Lewis County began filing zoning and health-code complaints against the facilities, and none is believed to be still operating.
The first-degree theft charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, plus fines and court costs. The charge also includes three “aggravating” circumstances contending it’s a crime of sophistication, a major economic offense, and abuse of a position of trust. These factors could result in more prison time than under standard sentencing guidelines.
Each forgery charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, plus fines and court costs.
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: email@example.com.
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