Crime - Sacto 911

California correctional officer pleads guilty to workers’ compensation fraud

A state correctional officer accused of playing baseball while collecting disability leave benefits for a foot injury has pleaded guilty to workers' compensation fraud.

Todd Phillips, a correctional officer with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, was charged with intentionally making false statements regarding his physical abilities and failing to disclose participation in certain events and activities. Had his participation in those activities been known, it would have affected his workers’ compensation benefits, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release.

On Nov. 10, 2010, Phillips injured his right foot while working for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He continued to work after the injury until he was taken off work by his doctors on Dec. 27, 2011, pending surgery on his foot on Feb. 15, 2012. Phillips continued to tell his doctors that he was unable to return to work because of pain in his foot, prosecutors said.

While off work due to the foot injury and while receiving industrial disability leave benefits, Phillips was filmed by Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation investigators playing in nine police softball games in September 2012. He was filmed running the bases, aggressively running to catch balls in the outfield, hitting his right foot with the bat and pivoting on the right foot while swinging and hitting the ball, authorities said.

Investigators also determined through interviews with other peace officers that Phillips was an active and aggressive participant in softball games during tournaments in July and August 2012.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Marjorie Koller ordered Phillips to serve 60 days in county jail with the sheriff’s release program recommended. He also was ordered to serve three years probation and to pay $12,823.77 in restitution to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy