File photo/pexels.com

File photo/pexels.com

Renton man pleads guilty to one of state’s largest workers’ comp scams

The delivery driver was still working under his own name while receiving L&I pension, and owes the state almost $340,000.

A Renton delivery driver has been ordered to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars to the state after pulling off one of the largest worker’s fraud compensation scams in Washington’s recent history.

Robert Strasbaugh, 67, has pleaded guilty to first degree theft in the case and will need to pay back almost $340,000 to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. He must also spend 45 days in electronic home monitoring.

Strasbaugh was using his wife’s name to work while still receiving L&I payments for an on the job knee injury in 2003. A doctor had determined he could not work and permanently disqualified him from returning to his job as a delivery driver.

While receiving L&I, he used his wife’s name and Social Security number for his work for about three years. The company owner said Strasbaugh’s job included unloading freight weighing between 100 to 500 pounds. He also contracted under his own name for an apple delivery company, and rented delivery trucks 26 times while signing his name and his company’s name.

Based largely on doctor assessments and Strasbaugh’s statements, Strasbaugh was found to be “totally and permanently disabled” in 2016. His wage-replacement payments ended, and he qualified to receive L&I pension payments for life — as long as he did not work.

The state began investigating him after receiving an anonymous tip in 2017. After two years of investigation, it was determined Strasbaugh had worked multiple jobs as a delivery driver from 2012 to 2017, according to the department.

L&I ended Strasbaugh’s pension in 2018 as a result of the fraud investigation.

“Our investigation showed Mr. Strasbaugh was deliberately deceitful in his attempt to cheat the workers’ comp system,” Chris Bowe, assistant director of L&I’s Fraud Prevention & Labor Standards division, stated in a press release. “We truly appreciate the public’s help in tipping us off to cases like this. Fraud is not a victimless crime. It hurts honest workers and employers who pay into the system and can cause their rates to rise.”

L&I administers the state workers’ compensation insurance system, which provides medical and limited wage-replacement coverage to injured workers.

The Washington Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case based on L&I’s investigation.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Elected or appointed? King County weighs sheriff options

Voters could be asked to decide in November.

The Red Lion Inn at 1 South Grady Way in Renton is being used as temporary site to relocate individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo.
Renton battles King County over temporary shelter at Red Lion Hotel

County officials believe emergency health order will supersede city’s move.

Owner of proposed Enumclaw Recycling Center ordered to close Auburn location

King County has been trying to shutter the Buckley Recycle Center for nearly 15 years, and claims the lack of progress at the Enumclaw site shows the owner has little interest in complying with county regulations.

A train route that would shuttle people between Eastern and Western Washington could tie in with the proposed ultra-high-speed rail between B.C. and Portland. Photo courtesy RobertStafford/Pixabay.com
State receives King County to Spokane rail study

It would take about eight and a half hours to reach the Inland Empire from Puget Sound.

Courtesy of Mountain View Fire and Rescue
Mountain View Fire and Rescue seeks levy on Aug. 4 primary ballot

Service area includes unincorporated King County near the cities of Auburn, Enumclaw and Kent.

Firefighters treat 3 in head-on collision | Fire blotter

Reporter staff Between June 29 and July 5, the Valley Regional Fire… Continue reading

Bret Chiafalo. File photo
Supreme Court says state can punish WA faithless electors

Justices: Presidential electors, including Everett man, must keep pledge to back popular vote winner

Courtesy of the Auburn School District
There will be school this fall in Auburn

The district is working on answering the question: What will it look like?

Pills stolen, windows smashed | Auburn police blotter

Between June 27 and July 3, the Auburn Police Department responded to… Continue reading

Most Read