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Man accused of faking injuries, stealing $300K in benefits

UPDATED: Tue., May 25, 2021

Associated Press

Associated Press

KALAMA, Wash. – A Kalama man is facing one count of theft after a Washington Labor & Industries investigation alleges he was faking injuries to collect nearly $300,000 in workers’ compensation benefits.

Labor & Industries says James Thomasson was hurt while working as a logger in 2006, The Daily News reported. A tree hit his leg, causing bruises and abrasions.

A year later, the state said he claimed he hurt his back while using a wedge to fell a tree in Shelton.

Thomasson’s medical provider told the department he couldn’t work because of his injuries, and he was eligible to receive payments for part of his lost wages.

Thomasson collected more than $249,000 in wage replacement payments and nearly $50,000 in vocational and medical benefits from March 2016 through January 2020, according to the agency.

L&I began investigating Thomasson in 2019 after receiving an anonymous tip he was misrepresenting his injuries and working as a beekeeper.

Undercover investigators watched and recorded Thomasson multiple times in 2019 and obtained security and social media footage of him dancing, walking normally and performing various activities, according to the department.

He had been able to work back in March 2019, according to the department.

Thomasson is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Thurston County Superior Court. It wasn’t immediately known if he has a lawyer to comment.

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