Bucks County Prison Guard Charged with Workers' Compensation Fraud, Theft
A Bucks County corrections officer who took undercover investigators on a paid, guided fishing trip this summer while receiving workers’ compensation has been charged with fraud and theft.
Carl Wayne Stokes, 51, of Bridgeton Township, was arraigned this morning on counts of workers’ compensation fraud, theft and unsworn falsification after turning himself in to authorities.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case, Stokes received workers’ compensation assistance since Nov. 1 as a result of an on-the-job injury at the Bucks County Correctional Facility.
On May 1, Stokes filed paperwork indicating his physical condition was unchanged and said a doctor recommended “permanent restrictions” on his activity. He also reported that he had not been employed at any time since receiving the benefits.
But Facebook posts dating back to January 10, 2018, show Stokes offering guided fishing tours on the Delaware River through the fishing charter service Reel Adventures. Additional posts from April discuss his work as a fishing guide.
In mid-June, Bucks County detectives scheduled a half-day outing with Stokes for June 26, arranging to leave from Laceyville, Wyoming County, on the Susquehanna River. Two undercover detectives went on the trip, during which Stokes moved about the boat without impediment, fished with the detectives and at some point leaned over the water from the boat to assist in retrieving the detectives’ lures.
Stokes told the detectives during the trip that he had been employed at the Bucks County Sheriff’s Office, and was out of work receiving workers’ compensation benefits for an injury sustained while working there in 2015, the affidavit of probable cause says.
The affidavit says Stokes further told them he was booked through the summer with additional fishing trips, save for an opening the week of July 4.
The detectives paid Stokes $240 for the trip, including a $100 deposit paid by money order.
Investigators later found the money order deposited into Stokes’ account. According to the criminal complaint, Stokes when confronted by investigators in July said he thought he was safe reporting he was not employed because he was not making money.
The complaint says he descried his compensation as, “$100 here or there” and “maybe $1,100 total.” He said further the money he does receive pays for gas and equipment, the affidavit says.
Investigation also revealed Stokes had a previous workers’ compensation claim which was suspended after a number of Facebook posts showed him engaged in activities in contradiction with his medical limitations.
District Judge Gary Gambardella set bail at $100,000 unsecured and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Oct. 29.
The case was referred to the District Attorney’s Office through the Bucks County Controller’s Office.
“Upon my election in 2017, as Controller of Bucks County, I took on the responsibility, as the taxpayers’ fiscal watchdog, to root fraud and corruption,” said Bucks County Controller Neale Dougherty. “I pledged to protect the taxpayers who work hard for their money, and I will continue to look for instances where they are not receiving value for their tax dollars.”
Misuse of county resources can be reported to the Controller's Office at 267-884-5922. Find Dougherty's full statement attached to this release.
Prosecution will be handled by Deputy District Attorney Marc J. Furber, Chief of Insurance Fraud.
Criminal charges are allegations subject to proof in court. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Contact: Marc Furber, 215.348.6339, firstname.lastname@example.org