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Contractor Faces Workers’ Comp Charges

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

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A former construction worker who collected disability after stating a job-related accident left him unable to work is facing a felony theft charge.

Robert Robson Trott, 47, was charged with first-degree theft of workers’ compensation benefit, according to a Sept. 28 statement from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

Trott was scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 29 in Franklin County Superior Court. However, according to an article in the Tri-City Herald, Trott did not show up for his date in court. Judge Alex Ekstrom issued a bench warrant for his arrest that day and set his cash-only bail at $10,236.88.

That’s the amount Trott allegedly had collected in wage-replacement checks from L&I, the article said.

Working While Collecting

“Some people may think cheating the system is easy money, but it’s not,” said Elizabeth Smith, assistant director of L&I’s Fraud Prevention & Labor Standards, in the statement. “We regularly catch workers’ comp crooks by cross-checking L&I data with that of other public agencies.”

©iStock.com / SAKDAWUT14

Former contractor Robert Trott failed to show for his arraignment after being charged with first-degree theft of workers' compensation payments. Court records indicate Trott has a lengthy criminal history.

According to the agency’s statement, Trott filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits in 2014 after he was injured while working for a construction firm.

The statement said Trott twisted his right knee while stepping off a ladder at job site in Moses Lake, WA, and later repeatedly filed claims stating that he could not work because of the injury. He continued to receive medical services and wage-replacement payments until September 2014.

Later, during what the agency said was a routine cross-check of L&I and Employment Security Department data, the agency discovered that Trott had been earning wages from construction firms in Battle Ground and Selah, during the same time he was collecting the workers’ compensation checks and stating he was unable to work.

The Washington Attorney General’s office then charged with the crime, L&I said.

Previous Crimes

Trott has had past run-ins with the law. According to a 2012 article in the Tri-City Herald, the former contractor was sentenced to one year, 10 months in prison after pleading guilty for crimes dating to 2011.

In that case, the report indicated that Trott had been accused of pocketing money from customers and then forging checks to pay for supplies and equipment related to the projects.

In one instance, Trott convinced a homeowner to write a $4,259 check to him rather than his employer. The former contractor then cashed that check, but never reimbursed the company. He also forged three company checks for $3,686 when he signed the co-owner’s name, according to the daily newspaper.

In addition to jail time for second-degree theft and forgery charges, Trott also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $7,946 to cover the bad checks.

In L&I’s statement, the agency also said Trott has convictions of unlawful issuance of a check, attempted felony harassment, fourth-degree assault and other crimes, according to court records. He also has several active arrest warrants stemming from failing to pay fines or restitution, the agency said.


Tagged categories: Contractors; Criminal acts; Department of Labor; Ethics

Comment from Donald Boykiin, (10/14/2015, 4:46 AM)

There is a ton of workers out there pulling this same scam. It seems like no one wants to work anymore, they look for a way to have a so called accident, pick up WC benefits, then stay home collecting them, and after awhile, they will be out working for another contractor or doing something that they stated they could no longer do. These people need to be collected and sent to a sinking island

Comment from john lienert, (10/14/2015, 7:03 AM)

slow learner

Comment from Mike McCloud, (10/14/2015, 7:43 AM)

This and unemployment pay are two of the most abused systems in this country. Unfortunately, there is not nearly enough oversight by the Feds, states or insurance companies.

Comment from Sarah Geary, (10/15/2015, 8:08 AM)

I despise people like this, while my father struggles to get WC to keep his family home and provide for my disabled mother, crooks like this abuse benefits meant for people who legitimately are injured and need help paying their bills while waiting for an injury to heal. Scum.

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (10/15/2015, 8:30 AM)

Unfortunately, you find nastiness on both sides. http://apps.texastribune.org/hurting-for-work/

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