Postal Carrier Caught In Workers' Comp Fraud On 'Price Is Right'


Postal Carrier Convicted of Fraud After 'Price Is Right' Appearance


Many people have called in sick to work when they were perfectly fine and just wanted the day off. Some might even be so calculating as to fake an injury and claim workers' compensation benefits for months, or years. But how many would be so brazen as to show -- on national television -- how fit they actually are?

That's exactly what former North Carolina postal worker Cathy Wrench Cashwell has admitted to doing. On Monday, Cashwell pled guilty to fraud in connection with a workers' compensation claim that she filed in 2004. Cashwell had claimed that a shoulder injury prevented her from lifting mail trays into trucks for the United States Postal Service and, as a result, was collecting benefits since 2005. Then in 2009 she appeared on the game show "The Price is Right," where she used her whole upper body -- shoulders included -- to spin the show's famous "big wheel," twice. In what seems to be another brilliant move, she also posted a photo on her Facebook page that showed her riding a zipline, according to the indictment filed against her.

But it was Cashwell's appearance on the show that tipped off investigators, and in September 2012 she was indicted in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. In her worker's comp paperwork, Cashwell had claimed that she couldn't "stand, sit, kneel, squat, climb, bend, reach or grasp." Yet according to the indictment, spinning the "big wheel" on the show is quite demanding, and required Cashwell to raise "both arms above her head and grip the same handle with both hands." Given such a condition, spinning that wheel would have been a "pretty mean feat," wrote MSN.com.

More: Woman Hurt During Sex On Business Trip Entitled To Workers' Comp


Usually nailing workers for fraudulent workers' compensation claims requires a lot of detective work, investigators say. "Sometimes you have to get in the woods and bushes. The secret is you've got to have your camera up," private investigator Allison Blackman told North Carolina station WRAL-TV, which was first to report on the guilty plea.

Relatively Rare
Although Blackman estimates that 30 percent of workers' compensation claims in North Carolina are fraudulent, the evidence suggests fraudulent workers' comp claims in the U.S. are relatively rare. A landmark report by PBS' "Frontline" in 2000 found that just 1 to 2 percent of those claims are fraudulent, describing the notion that there is rampant fraud a "myth."

In fact, the overall money that private employers are paying for workers' compensation claims reached its lowest level last year since 1986. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private sector employers spent 1.80 percent of their payroll on workers' compensation claims in 2012. And it was the seventh year in a row in which the spending dropped.

When she appeared on the "The Price is Right" in 2009, Cashwell was awarded a six-night vacation to Palm Springs and Santa Barbara, Calif. At a sentencing scheduled for September, she'll find out what she gets for committing fraud.

In a similar case of being caught publicly in an apparent lie about a disability, AOL Jobs reported on Paul Marshallsea, who was fired in March from a job as a project manager for the Welsh charity, the Pant and Dowlais Boys & Girls Club. Marshallsea had been on extended sick leave for "work-related stress" since April 2012, but that diagnosis was put in doubt after Marshallsea became an Internet sensation for jumping into the ocean off Australia to pull a 6-foot-long shark away from children.

And in another high-profile case of workers' comp fraud, several Long Island Rail Road workers have pleaded guilty this year to participating in a scam in which they took early retirement while claiming to be disabled -- so they could receive disability benefits along with their pensions. Hundreds of workers are alleged to have taken part in the scheme.


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121 Comments

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wnovak10

does she still work?

March 31 2014 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rwgebo1889

Hope the price is right.

June 09 2013 at 12:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
billscaf

A public sector worker on a fraudulent workers comp claim??????????? No way!!

June 08 2013 at 9:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cindy

Come on. Now disabled people can't be on game shows?
Maybe her case was about fraud. But, not everyone is committing fraud.

June 08 2013 at 4:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Cindy's comment
d1anaw

If you can do a normal activity, you can work. That's the point. She claimed she couldn't do normal work activities, but she could do those very same activities as long as they were not work related. That's fraud. I wish they would be more diligent about getting these liars and cheaters. They cost us all and they are pathetic. Here's a hint, if the only thing you cannot do is work, then you are a fraud.

June 08 2013 at 10:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
MIKEY'S SCREEN

Village Idiots seem to be as abundant as Dumbocrats. Once discovered, they can't say enough about how sorry they are for lying in the first place.

June 08 2013 at 3:56 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to MIKEY'S SCREEN's comment
Hi Sandra

Dumbocrats? Grow up, your attempt to be funny failed miserably,but with a screen name of MIKEY, what else could we expect?

June 09 2013 at 12:45 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
chzyrider

Granted, too many may fake their injuries or may exaggerate it by claiming something like a slight muscle ache (to anyone else) is so painful to them as to be preventing them from performing certain actions at work. Yet they are seen freely performing such similar activities that mimic the physical motions in the job that they claim to be incapable of doing.

It's a fine line of being too injured to work and efficiently perform normal daily tasks as required and still being capable of continuing some personal hobby & leisure activities, versus an injury where those certain movements are just too painful and affect all aspects of life.

Some people tolerate common pain better than others. There are many valid claims where someone was injured causing ongoing pain, and yet they still perform their needed daily household tasks while merely tolerating it rather than acting totally disabled. For example; One can an aggravated shoulder injury that may not allow them to lift heavy items at work over their head as required without substantial pain, but can perhaps still be capable of mowing their own lawn or washing the car.

These people should not be instantly denied in their claim if merely seen mowing their lawn, but observed to see if they are doing so freely or perhaps indicating being truly in pain while mimicking any actions or movements done on the job, such as the example of lifting overhead or maybe even reaching up for something on a shelf. Some just have to tough-it-out and perform their own household tasks while in pain because they cannot afford to hire this needed work done for them while injured.

June 08 2013 at 3:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lthrnck68

Her appearing on P.I.R. did not get her fired. What got her fired was committing fraud.

June 08 2013 at 11:43 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
ballfun2

The statement:
A landmark report by PBS' "Frontline" in 2000 found that just 1 to 2 percent of those claims are fraudulent, describing the notion that there is rampant fraud a "myth."

Shows how delusional they are to the reality. Of all the long term permenant worker's comp claims I have seen maybe 1 was legit. The majority are phoney. In California it is horrible. The cost of worker's comp insurance has driven companies out of business and out of state. The State Carrier "State Fund" not only has a lot of incompetent lazy people working for them, they process the claims even though they know they are phoney. Until they make this time of thing "not worth it" it will continue to be a way of life. There were several people who had legit claims that did not file! I have meet so many people on Disability that absolutely can work. These people I know sit around all day doing nothing but drinking and smoking or doing drugs, while I work to pay taxes to support them. I don't want to pay any more taxes to support this!

June 08 2013 at 10:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
johnfairfaxva

in 1980 1-24 workers were on disability. In 2012 1-11 were on disability....Our tax money being used well. Wonder if the Pres cares?

June 06 2013 at 5:45 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to johnfairfaxva's comment
dfriberg

Nope, doesn't bother him...he likes his voter base!

June 08 2013 at 10:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
doug

there is a lot of this going on!!!! the first heart attack put me out of working and now the back has really got me stopped from doing very much at home, but I would never have dreamed of claiming anything like this if in better health. this kind of claim is what has the system in trouble. she should have to pay it all back plus some time in jail for her false claims!!! if enough people were to get hit with this the rest might learn not to pull these shenanigans causing others not to be able to get on when they truly need it.

June 06 2013 at 2:25 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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