The Fraud Examiner

Price is Right Appearance Exposes Workers’ Compensation Fraud

June 2013

By Mark Scott, J.D., CFE


While media and public attention has been focused on disaster-related frauds, data protection and privacy, and tax avoidance, a recent workers' compensation scandal involving a contestant on the U.S. game show The Price is Right serves as a reminder that insurance fraud schemes continue to pose significant threats to public and private interests.


As first reported by local North Carolina television station WRAL, an appearance on The Price is Right led to the downfall of a former postal service employee who has since pleaded guilty to workers' compensation fraud.


In 2004, North Carolina postal worker Cathy Wrench Cashwell filed a workers' compensation claim, stating that a shoulder injury she suffered while working left her unable to perform the manual part of her postal duties (i.e., lifting mail trays and carrying bags of letters). She began collecting benefits in 2005.


In the claim, Cashwell said she could not, among other things, reach, grip, climb, sit or engage in other activities, but on September 23, 2009, she appeared on The Price is Right, where she spun "the Big Wheel" twice. The September 2012 indictment said that during one spin, Cashwell "raised both arms above her head and gripped the same handle with both hands," and during a second spin, she "raised her left arm above her head and gripped the handle with her left hand," the Daily Mail said.


After Cashwell's suspicious appearance in 2009, investigators went to work and obtained evidence that she repeatedly engaged in activities she should not have been able to perform. Cashwell's sentencing is scheduled for September 2013.


Workers' Compensation Fraud 

Workers' compensation insurance is a type of insurance that provides medical and disability coverage for employees who suffer work-related injuries and illnesses.


While most workers' compensation claims are legitimate, some are inflated or fraudulent. Workers' compensation fraud occurs when someone knowingly makes a false statement or conceals information to obtain workers' compensation benefits or to prevent someone from receiving benefits to which they might be entitled.

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