An investigation by authorities in New York State has led to bad news for one man.
Charges Include Making False Statements, Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Fraud
U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. recently announced that Richard Klaffka, 56, of Holland, N.Y., was charged by criminal complaint in connection with the defendant’s receipt of benefits from the Veterans’ Administration and Workers Compensation under false pretenses. Klaffka is charged with making false statements, mail fraud, wire fraud, and fraud. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Rogowski, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, beginning in 2008, Klaffka told the Veterans Administration that, due to an injury connected with his military service in 1978, he was confined to a wheelchair and unable to engage in everyday activities like walking, driving and dressing himself.
The defendant was already receiving benefits for the service related injury and was appealing for a significant increase in those benefits. Although his initial application for the increase was denied, after a successful appeal, the increase was granted and made retroactive resulting in a significant lump sum payment.
Defendant Reportedly Said Work Injury Hindered Mobility
The complaint further alleges that in order to get workers comp benefits from his employment with the United States Postal Service, the defendant falsely claimed that his mobility was limited due to a work injury, that he was only able to walk with the assistance of a cane and could not lift more than five pounds.
The complaint then outlines instances where investigators observed and recorded the defendant engaging in strenuous activities.
In one instance in 2013, Klaffka was observed driving to the Veterans’ Administration Hospital and lifting a wheelchair from his vehicle. The defendant then placed himself in the wheelchair and his wife pushed him into the hospital. After his appointment, Klaffka’s wife pushed the defendant back to the vehicle where he got out of the wheelchair without assistance, lifted the chair back into the vehicle, and drove away.
The defendant was also observed playing horseshoes for hours at a time and then riding a bicycle. In another instance, the defendant went on a cruise and was observed engaging in a wide variety of activities not consistent with being confined to a wheelchair or otherwise limited in physical capacity. According to complaint, Klaffka is receiving over $9,000 per month in tax free benefits from both government entities as a result of his false claims.
The defendant was scheduled to appear in court before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr. in March.
Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: email@example.com.
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