Facebook Posting Leads to Postal Worker Indictment

Posting vacation photos on Facebook was instrumental in an indictment of a Postal worker collecting payments for his medical disability.

Millions of Americans go on vacation and post their favorite photos of their vacation on Facebook. The family is having a great time, they like getting away from their usual routine, and friends and family members like to know how they are enjoying their time away.

For one former employee of the US Postal Service, the Facebook posting turned this outing into an unpleasant vacation memory.

As a result of his photo showing an enjoyable vacation, Robert McGeehan, 59, a resident of New Jersey, has been charged with second-degree theft by deception and third-degree insurance fraud in an indictment handed up by a grand jury in Trenton, New Jersey.

Posting Vacation Photos on Facebook

According to prosecutors, in July 2015 McGeehan posted photos on Facebook showing him zip lining and rappelling while enjoying his vacation. Zip lining is legal, of course, but for a Postal worker who has been collecting workers’ compensation payments as a result of a medical disability, there has been a big downside to sharing his vacation photos for anyone to see.

In addition to the Facebook posting, in June and July of 2016, Postal Service investigators recorded McGeehan outside his home doing strenuous yard work, including using a chain saw and a hand saw, and throwing large logs according to the press release from the State of New Jersey Office of Attorney General.

$75,000 in Payments for Medical Disability

According to the indictment, between July 2015 and June 2017, McGeehan collected more than $75,000 from the Office of Workers’ Compensation Program and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) by falsely claiming an on-the-job fall in 2008. His fall made him medically unfit to perform his duties as a letter carrier.

“This defendant claims he is physically unfit to return to work, even on light duty, but he’s allegedly out there engaging in strenuous physical activities, including outdoor recreation,” said New Jersey Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino. “Workers’ compensation is meant to provide financial assistance to those who are legitimately unable to work, not provide able-bodied employees with paid time off to enjoy themselves.”

According to prosecutors, McGeehan, who lived and worked in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area until moving to New Jersey in April 2013, claimed he injured his right wrist in an icy fall while delivering mail in February 2008. He has not returned to work in his mail carrier position since that time.

Rejecting Offers to Return to Light Duty Work

In September 2008, McGeehan had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn cartilage in his wrist. Although medical assessments ordered by the USPS in 2009, 2010 and 2012 said he was fit to return to work on light duty, McGeehan disputed the medical assessments of his partial recovery.  He turned down several offers of less physically-demanding positions within the USPS, prosecutors allege. To corroborate his workers’ compensation claim, McGeehan has consistently submitted examination findings from his personal doctor.

According to prosecutors, evidence showing McGeehan has been falsely claiming to have a debilitating injury to his right wrist began in July 2015.

While apparently enjoying his vacation, McGeehan allegedly left an electronic signature on an agreement to accept risks and waive liabilities for certain activities, including “zip lines, rope swings, cargo net traverses, mechanical rappels, and climbing.”

The document that contains the waiver of liability, under medical concerns, specifically states that “the programs are designed for use by participants of average mobility and strength who are in reasonably good health. Obesity, high blood pressure, cardiac and coronary artery disease, pulmonary problems, arthritis, tendonitis, and other joint and musculo-skeletal problems may all impair the safety and well-being of participants.”

Two days after signing the waiver, McGeehan posted pictures of himself rappelling and zip lining, according to prosecutors.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty—But Facing Possible Fines and Prison Sentence

The press release from the New Jersey Attorney General’s office also notes that “The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000; third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000.”

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47