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Robert L. Hamilton was working as a letter carrier for the United States Postal Service when he was injured on the job on November 28, 2014, due to slipping and falling while delivering packages. On January 13, 2015, Hamilton began receiving wage replacement based on his claim of temporary total disability

After a co-worker saw Hamilton at a casino in March 2015, a federal agent was assigned to conduct surveillance of Hamilton. The surveillance revealed that Hamilton was able to perform certain physical acts that he told his doctor were impossible. Specifically, the doctor was shown surveillance videos of Hamilton and concluded that Hamilton had exaggerated or misrepresented some aspects of his medical condition.

After Hamilton became aware that he was being investigated, he returned to work on August 26, 2015, and then retired on September 1, 2015. Thus, Hamilton received wage replacement compensation from the Department of Labor pursuant to FECA from January 13 to August 25, 2015.

The District Attorney in San Diego County filed a criminal complaint against Hamilton on April 13, 2016, which charged Hamilton with eight counts of violating Insurance Code section 1871.4, subdivision (a)(1)

A jury convicted him on three counts of making a false or fraudulent statement for the purpose of obtaining compensation under the California workers’ compensation law in violation of Insurance Code section 1871.4, subdivision (a)(1).

The trial court placed Hamilton on formal probation for a period of three years and ordered that he serve 180 days in custody, with the intention that Hamilton serve the term of custody in home detention with electronic monitoring, if he was eligible. Among other things, the trial court also ordered that Hamilton pay $11,972 in victim restitution to the United States Department of Labor.

Hamilton appealed claiming that Insurance Code section 1871.4, subdivision (a)(1) applies only to false or fraudulent statements made for the purpose of obtaining compensation afforded under the California workers’ compensation law, which was not applicable to him as a federal employee. The Court of Appeal agreed, and reversed the conviction and dismissed the case in the published decision of People v Hamilton.

The Insurance Code makes it a crime to “[m]ake or cause to be made a knowingly false or fraudulent material statement or material representation for the purpose of obtaining or denying any compensation, as defined in Section 3207 of the Labor Code.” Labor Code section 3207 defines compensation as “compensation under this division…” The division of the Labor Code referred to in section 3207 is Division 4 of the Labor Code, which covers California workers’ compensation laws, and is titled “Workers’ Compensation and Insurance.”

The provisions in Division 4 of the Labor Code, when read together, make clear that its provisions do not cover a federal employee of the United States Postal Service.