Seattle man charged in $90k workers' comp case

A 48-year-old Seattle man is facing a felony theft charge for allegedly collecting more than $90,000 in workers’ comp benefits he wasn’t eligible to receive.

The case against William T. Crawley is being prosecuted by the Washington Attorney General’s Office — for one count of first-degree theft — after an investigation by the state Department Labor & Industries found he had returned to work while continuing to collect wage replacement payments and vocational rehabilitation benefits.

The discrepancy was first discovered during a routine crosscheck of L&I and Employment Security Department data.

Crawley was initially injured on the job in 2007, working as a bar manager when he slipped moving beer into a restaurant cooler. Soon after, he began receiving a variety of benefits, including partial replacement of his wages, and training to become a bookkeeper. The wage replacement checks included warnings that they were not to be cashed if he returned to work.

But an investigation found that between June 2013 and March 2016, Crawley had worked full-time as a manager or assistant manager at four area restaurants — including Palisade in Magnolia.

According to charging papers, he did not disclose his employment to either his physician or L&I.

"We want injured workers to heal and get back to work," said Elizabeth Smith, assistant director of L&I's Fraud Prevention & Labor Standards in a press release, "but they must be absolutely honest with us, their doctors and the other professionals who are helping them recover.”

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