HR Strange But True!
December 08, 2009

If you say you are disabled and unable to work, your appearance on a home improvement TV show may raise some eyebrows. That's what a California interior designer recently discovered.

When an employee of the company that pays the man's disability saw the man on HGTV, he alerted the California Department of Insurance. The investigation found that the man had worked for 3 years as an interior designer, including the appearance on HGTV, even though he claimed he was disabled during that time, according to the department.

The department accused the man of intentionally and knowingly concealing his secondary employment from his disability insurance company by falsifying written statements and deceiving a company field representative. During the time the man claimed to be disabled, he collected more than $400,500 in income as an interior designer while also collecting $147,600 in disability benefits. The man was also accused of failing to report this income on his state income tax returns.

The man pleaded guilty to one felony count of state income tax fraud and one felony count of insurance fraud, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) said.

A judge ordered the man to pay $151,700 restitution to the private insurance company and $31,000 to FTB representing the unpaid tax, penalties, interest and the cost of the investigation. He was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and 60 months of probation.

Source: Franchise Tax Board

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