Woman caught pumping weights after lying to claim $19K in workers’ comp

Kelly M. Gersbacher (PeekYou.com)

Syracuse, N.Y. — A former Verizon employee from Mattydale was arrested Thursday after authorities say she lied about injuries she suffered on the job and illegally took more than $19,000 in workers’ compensation benefits.

New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro announced today that Kelly M. Gersbacher, 44, faces six felony charges in connection to the scheme, which dates back to 2016.

According to the Inspector General’s office, Gersbacher reported suffering carpal tunnel-related injuries to both arms while working as a technician for Verizon in August 2016.

She had multiple surgeries for the injuries from 2017 to 2019 and began receiving workers’ compensation indemnity payments in January 2019, as well as payments through Verizon’s disability benefits plan.

Gersbacher was required to have medical examinations, during which she claimed she could only lift 10 pounds and was unable to continue going to her gym due to the injuries, according to the Inspector General’s office.

Based on that description, which the Inspector General’s office called a “misrepresentation of her physical condition,” doctors determined she was moderately disabled and entitled to the workers’ comp benefits, which totalled more than $19,000.

However, the Inspector General’s office said video surveillance from September and October 2019 showed Gersbacher deadlifting and exercising at gyms, as well as running errands, with “no apparent distress.”

Gersbacher was charged with two counts of first-degree falsifying business records, one count of third-degree grand larceny, one count of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and two other felony charges for fraudulent practices under the state Workers’ Compensation Law.

She was virtually arraigned Thursday in East Syracuse Village Court.

“This individual allegedly abused the workers’ compensation system by lying to doctors about the extent of her injuries,” Tagliafierro said in a statement. “The workers’ compensation program provides vital funds to those who are truly injured and in need. My office will continue to work with law enforcement to find those seeking to wrongfully obtain benefits from this important program.”

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