North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Fraud Blotter: Gym-owner Hammered by Fraud Charges – Gets 5 Months in Jail and Must Pay over $100,000 in Restitution

August 23, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

On August 26, 48-year-old Nicki Lee Buxmann of Sacramento was sentenced to jail for federal workers’ comp fraud. Our North Carolina workers’ compensation analysts react…

According to an article in the Sacramento Bee, Buxmann allegedly suffered injuries while working the United States Postal Service and obtained workers’ comp benefits from the Department of Labor.

While she collected those benefits, Buxmann owned and operated the TNT Takeover/MMA Boxing gym in Roseville, California. This was in violation of her sworn statements that she was not working and earning no income. When news of Buxmann’s alleged workers’ comp violations reached federal overseers, the inspector general of the USPS launched an investigation. According to the Sacramento Bee, “An undercover agent caught Buxmann teaching defensive tactics techniques, replacing light bulbs, cleaning windows, and sweeping exercise mats.” U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr., sentenced her to five months in prison, 36 months of supervised release, and restitution of nearly $105,000.

When someone like Buxmann defrauds the North Carolina workers’ compensation system, everyone in the system loses. Workers’ comp works only when all the players involved – including government entities, insurers, employers, and employees – trust that the system is fair and equitable. Plus, when $105,000 “disappears” from workers’ comp coffers, that money must be compensated for. Typically, the money lost through fraud is replenished by increased taxes, higher insurance premiums, and so on.

Of course, individuals who are hurt often want to get back to work quickly. The question is: Will taking another form of income replacement violate the terms of your workers’ comp? There is no way to answer that in the abstract. That’s why it’s so important to get good legal advice. A North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm will help you understand all you can (and cannot) do to supplement your income, get back to work quickly, and generally augment your career, your injury/illness notwithstanding.

More Web Resources:

Nicki Lee Buxmann fraud