Vancouver, WA – A contractor who claimed he was too injured to work, but was actually running his own construction company, must pay back the state more than $127,000.
Daniel Joseph Lesieur, of Washougal, has pleaded guilty to felony second-degree theft for stealing workers’ compensation benefits from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).
Besides ordering restitution last Friday, Feb. 10, Clark County Superior Court Judge Suzan Clark sentenced the 54-year-old to 30 days of electronic home monitoring.
Lesieur deceived medical and vocational providers and lied on official forms to take nearly $121,000 in wage replacement payments and more than $6,200 in vocational training services from January 2019 to October 2021.
At the same time, Lesieur continued to operate his construction business, Elk Ridge Custom Homes, Inc., collecting more than $370,000 for work in the Portland and Vancouver areas.
“This is one of the most blatant attempts we’ve seen recently of workers’ comp fraud,” said Celeste Monahan, assistant director of L&I’s Fraud Prevention and Labor Standards division.
“We’re pleased we put a stop to this theft. Now we can return these stolen funds to the workers’ comp system for their intended purpose: helping legitimately injured workers heal and return to work.”
The Washington State Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case based on an L&I investigation.
Lesieur filed an injury claim with L&I after hurting his left shoulder shoveling asphalt while working on a road crew in 2018.
In the spring of 2020, L&I began an 18-month investigation into Lesieur after discovering he had been a principal or owner with several construction businesses in the past, according to charging papers.
Investigators found that six weeks after filing his injury claim, Lesieur signed a contract to perform consumer construction projects for a national home improvement and building materials chain. He wrote in the application that the business had a crew and annual sales revenue of $1.5 million.
$370,000 in business while getting workers’ comp payments
More than 15 customers, mostly in the Portland and Clark County areas, told investigators that Lesieur personally provided bids or home remodeling services on behalf of the national retailer. The chain paid his company more than $216,000 from 2019 to May 2021 to perform work for those and many other customers.
During the same period, a separate company paid Lesieur’s business more than $155,000 to modify and retrofit mobile home foundations.
Lesieur never informed L&I, nor his medical or vocational providers, about his company or its $370,000 in income.
Source: WA L&I