Former Correction Officer Pleads Guilty, Sentenced for Fraudulently Collecting Workers' Compensation Benefits
Ran Marathon and Half-Marathons While Claiming To Be Injured
John Cloutier, age 46, of East Freetown, pled guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to the charge of Workers' Compensation Fraud. After the plea was entered, Superior Court Judge Frances McIntyre sentenced Cloutier to two and a half years in the House of Correction, with the sentence suspended for a probationary period of five years. While on probation, Cloutier cannot work for a public entity and he must inform any prospective employer of his conviction. Cloutier was also ordered to pay full restitution in the amount of $56,733.
In April 2010, the DOC referred the matter to the Attorney General's Office after receiving an anonymous tip about Cloutier's activities. In July 2008, Cloutier suffered a work-related injury for which he collected workers' compensation benefits and continued to do so until March 2010. During this time, Cloutier repeatedly told medical providers that he could neither stand for long periods of time, nor could he do any strenuous activities that could potentially aggravate his injury. Based on these false statements made in the examinations, some medical providers determined that Cloutier could not return to work. Investigators discovered through the anonymous tip that in January 2009, Cloutier ran in, and completed, two races at Disney World in Florida: a half-marathon on January 10, 2009, and then the next day a full marathon. Cloutier also completed another half-marathon in September 2009. Cloutier never disclosed to the DOC or any of his treating medical providers that he ran in any of these races, trained for these races, or, for that matter, engaged in any kind of strenuous exercise.
In January 2010, a hearing was held before a workers' compensation judge at the Department of Industrial Accidents to decide whether Cloutier had been disabled at any time after January 10, 2009. At that time the judge was presented with evidence which showed Cloutier's participation in a marathon and half-marathons. In March 2010, the judge determined that Cloutier was not eligible for benefits any time after his first January 2009 road race. Investigators calculated that Cloutier fraudulently collected over $56,000 from the Commonwealth after January 2009. The matter was then referred to the AG's Office for prosecution.
A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned the indictment against Cloutier on September 23, 2010. On October 26, 2010, he was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court where he entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Today, Cloutier pled guilty to all charges and was sentenced.
AG Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division works to protect consumers and the integrity of the insurance system by investigating and prosecuting those who commit fraud against all types of insurers, including the Commonwealth's unemployment insurance and workers' compensation system. The prosecution of insurance fraud helps prevent the increase in premiums and taxes that are the result of fraudulent insurance claims.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General David Andrews of AG Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division. The Department of Corrections fully cooperated with the Attorney General's investigation.