According to media spin, in more cases than not employees are out to get over on their bosses and workers’ comp insurers in whatever way they can. Mainstream media would have you believe that claimants are irresponsible, greedy, and looking for a ‘free ride.’ As an experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney, I can assure you that this is just not the truth. Clients come to our practice sick, in pain, and fearful for their financial health. On the whole, they don’t want to be out of work, they don’t want to have to deal with the workers’ compensation system, and they aren’t looking for a handout.
While I typically don’t like to pay too much attention to cases of workers’ compensation fraud by employees, sometimes there is just a workers’ compensation case that is too comical or ludicrous to ignore. After having said that, I’d like to introduce you to the one involving Cathy Wrench Cashwell.
Ms. Cashwell is a former postal employee who claimed that a shoulder injury incurred on the job in 2004 left her unable to perform her job duties, which consisted of lifting mail trays into trucks. Then, in September of 2009, she went on the game show ‘The Price Is Right,’ where she was observed doing something shocking: Spinning the ‘big wheel’ that is a hallmark of the popular gameshow.
Cashwell was observed spinning the wheel two times during her appearance. According to the indictment filed against her workers’ compensation claim, Cashwell “…raised her left arm above her head and gripped the handle with her left hand.” On her second spin, the indictment says, she “…raised both arms above her head and gripped the same handle with both hands.”
While those two spins by themselves may not have been enough to do her in, they were more than enough to raise the suspicions of investigators, who began gathering evidence of her lack of injury.
The indictment recounts an incident in August of 2010 when Cashwell and her husband went ziplining as part of a Carnival Cruise vacation. It also notes that she carried heavy items like grocery bags and furniture on multiple occasions in 2011. In short, the indictment (which was filed last September) accuses Cashwell of lying about the extent of her injuries.
When she renewed her claim for her injuries as recently as 2011, Cashwell again stated that her injuries hindered her ability to bend, reach, grasp, sit, and engage in other physically demanding activities that would have been required of her in her former job as a postal worker.
Cashwell pled guilty to fraud in federal court earlier this month, and her sentencing is scheduled for September.