Former Firefighter Convicted Of Workers Comp Fraud

Wednesday, April 11th 2007, 9:00 pm
By: News On 6

A damaging video tape plays a key role in the fraud conviction of a former Tulsa firefighter. The News On 6’s Emory Bryan reports a private investigator armed with a camera trailed him for months, capturing pictures of him working odd jobs, while he claimed to be totally disabled.

William Adams, a former Tulsa firefighter, claimed he was totally disabled. He was injured on the job in 1996, and required surgery, but according to prosecutors, he lied when he claimed he couldn't dress himself or even lift a gallon of milk.

"The thing that is significant is he was doing things that he had reported he was unable to do," said Karen Dixon from the Attorney General’s office.

Prosecutors say Adams had a legitimate injury, but not enough of an injury to claim a total and permanent disability. The video tape shows Adams climbing ladders and using a lawn trimmer without any obvious problems. Investigators photographed him raking grass and loading a lawn mower, all while he was claiming a total disability.

To view a portion of the video tape mentioned in this story and provided by the Oklahoma Attorney General's office, click here.

Officials say the fraud and perjury case against Adams started with a chance encounter.

"The adjuster who was handling the case ran into him in the mall,” Dixon said. “She had been used to seeing him using a crutch and wearing a brace, and when she saw him he wasn't using a crutch or a brace, so she immediately went back to the office and asked for permission and they hired a private investigator to take a look at him."

The state filed charges against Adams in 2004, but it took almost three years in the courts. He pled guilty, was convicted and in exchange won't have to pay back the money he's already received. Adams was paid $86,000 for his temporary disability. He'll have to pay almost $10,000 in restitution for the cost of the investigation against him and some fines. Adams was also given a five year deferred sentence.

Related story:

4/10/2007 Firefighter Admits To Worker Comp Fraud