Case Studies

Athletic claimant powerlifts his claim away


As loyal readers of The Examiner know, we at Ethos are very proud of our team of investigators. Theirs is not an easy job and the nature of the profession means that they don’t always receive the recognition they deserve. That is why we like to shine a spotlight on their efforts in our Best Catch segment. This time around, we applaud investigator Christopher G., who obtained extensive documentation of a claimant working out, riding a bicycle, and playing in a kickball game, despite reported injuries to his neck, back, hips and shoulders.

The claimant was a young man who had been involved in a motor vehicle accident. Although the impact was relatively minor and resulted in minimal damage to his vehicle, the claimant indicated that he experienced significant pain when performing routine daily activities. The claimant underwent a medical examination and was given restrictions that included no lifting over 20 lbs. from a bent position and/or 10 lbs. repeatedly.

Our client assigned Ethos three days of surveillance in order document the claimant’s activities. Christopher G. received the assignment and performed some cursory social media searches regarding the claimant. The claimant was found to have a Facebook profile, which contained photos of his vehicle parked outside a local gym.

On this first day of surveillance, Christopher arrived at the claimant’s residence in the early morning, finding the claimant’s registered vehicle parked outside. The claimant was minimally active that day, stepping outside on a few occasions to speak with neighbors.

The following day, surveillance resumed at the claimant’s residence. This time, the claimant’s vehicle was not observed in the area. Following up on the gym lead, Christopher G. traveled to the facility identified in the claimant’s Facebook posts. Upon arrival, the claimant’s vehicle was found in the parking garage. The investigator obtained a day pass and entered the gym equipped with a covert camera in order to document the claimant’s activities. Over the course of the next hour, extensive video was obtained of the claimant utilizing machines and weights within the gym. Of note, the claimant was observed “maxing out” as he performed the bench press and several other upper body exercises. The claimant then visited a local restaurant before returning home for the day.

During the final surveillance day, the claimant again returned to his gym and worked out using various weights and machines. After wrapping up his workout, the claimant proceeded to a local baseball field, where an adult kickball tournament was being held. The claimant was noted to be a participant and was documented catching the ball, throwing the ball, running around the field multiple times, tagging others with the ball, and kicking the ball. Between games, the claimant was observed throwing and catching a football with his fellow team members. When his team resumed play, the claimant was documented aggressively diving to catch balls that had been kicked toward his position in the outfield.

Thanks in large part to the claimant’s play, his team ended up winning the tournament. Unfortunately for him, however, the sweet taste of victory was costly, as his claim was subsequently referred for possible fraud prosecution.

Nice work, Christopher!

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