Worker who got $186K in ‘dog phobia’ case owned dogs all along, WA officials say
A reader was attacked by a dog while on duty, which made her so fearful of dogs that she could no longer work and passed out at the sight, she told the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.
Linda Jordan, 52, from Cathlamet, collected employee compensation for the next few years for the "dog phobia" she suffered, according to the department.
Now she is accused of stealing $ 186,000 from the agency, according to a press release.
According to L&I, a dog bit Jordan when she was working as a reader for the Pacific County Public Utility District in March 2007. She filed an injury lawsuit that closed "and reopened in 2014 when her doctor said she passed out after seeing dogs and unable to return to work," the press release said.
In 2018, a claims manager suspected something was wrong with the case and L&I opened an investigation.
An L&I investigator went to Jordan's property and pretended to buy bricks from her. The agent was "greeted by three little French bulldogs" when he arrived and "watched their three big boxers swarm around them," according to L&I.
"Jordan did not pass out or appeared scared to be with the dogs and had the investigator photograph him with two of the boxers," the press release said.
She told the agent that she and her husband had rescued and promoted boxers for the past 30 years, "and even warned investigators that one of their recently rescued dogs might bite," the press release said.
The investigation also found that Jordan used Facebook accounts under various names to sell and search for dogs in order to breed them, the agency said. After an investigator provided evidence to a psychiatrist who treated Jordan that she was not afraid of dogs, the doctor changed her diagnosis from "post-traumatic stress disorder and dog phobia" to "malingering," according to the press release.
"He found that Jordan was actually able to work as a reader again in September 2016," L & I said in its press release.
The indictment against Jordan is slated for October 12th. She is charged with first-degree crime theft in Wahkiakum County for “wrongly receiving nearly $ 163,000 in wage replacement payments and more than $ 23,000 in professional and medical services from 2016-2019. ”
"The alleged actions of the defendant in this case are so obvious that it is amazing," said Chris Bowe, assistant director of L & I's Fraud Prevention and Labor Standards, according to the press release. "We do not tolerate people who deliberately cheat the employee comp system."
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