CHICAGO – A former Crystal Lake police officer has been charged with workers’ compensation fraud after he allegedly made false statements regarding his medical condition in order to obtain benefits.
The Illinois Department of Insurance announced Tuesday afternoon that Michael Avila had been indicted following a workers’ compensation fraud investigation.
He is charged with workers’ compensation fraud, insurance fraud, theft of government property and theft by deception in connection to statements he made in order to create the impression the nature of an injury he claimed to have suffered to his wrist at work was more extensive than it really was, according to a DOI news release.
Avila filed a workers’ compensation claim for a wrist injury in October 2012. An investigation by the DOI Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit found video surveillance of Avila lifting weights at the Crystal Lake police station a month after the injury while he was assigned to light duty, the release said.
Video surveillance also showed Avila working as a personal trainer several months after the initial wrist injury. During that time, he was taken off work completely after he allegedly aggravated or reinjured it.
“We take accusations of fraud very seriously and will investigate to determine the merits of a claim,” DOI Director Andrew Boron said in the release. “I hope our reports about workers’ compensation fraud cases and convictions send a clear message about this crime. We will investigate perpetrators and work with law enforcement to make sure they are prosecuted.”
The case will be prosecuted by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.
“The workers’ compensation system is intended to cover costs for employees who are injured on the job, but the evidence in this case shows that the defendant schemed to defraud the program for his own financial benefit,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in the release.
The claim Avila filed in October was voluntarily dismissed, the release said.