Oroville man sentenced in workers' comp fraud case

Oct 9, 2015 12:35 PM by News Staff

A former private security officer was sentenced to jail Thursday for five felony counts of workers’ compensation fraud stemming from an “accident” in 2009.

Howard William Neel, 59, of Oroville, was sentenced to one year in the Butte County Jail as a condition of three years of probationary supervision. During that time Neel will also be required to complete a theft awareness and financial management program and to pay restitution to the workers’ compensation program.

According to the Butte County District Attorney’s Office, Neel was working as a private security officer for a local security company in December 2009 when another driver slightly backed into his Crown Victoria at a gas station.

Neel claimed extensive back, neck and leg pain. He was treated at Enloe Medical Center and was taken off work.

In subsequent medical appointments, Neel told doctors the impact to his vehicle at the gas station had been so severe that his vehicle was “spun around”, knocking him down.

Investigators obtained surveillance tape from the gas station and found the collision to be minor. The video showed Neel walking normally after the crash, but he started limping when the other party involved saw him. When that individual left, Neel started walking normally again.

Neel was seen by several doctors and repeatedly denied any back, neck or leg injuries prior to the December 2009 “accident”. However, investigators found Neel suffered the same type of back injury while lifting boxes 10 years prior, which was also treated under the worker’s compensation system.

Additionally, Neel used a cane when he went to doctors’ offices, but undercover surveillance tapes showed him without any cane while working around his house or with his horses.


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