- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A Mechanicsville woman injured while working with the postal service later collected disability payments for seven years as she operated a gym and other businesses, federal prosecutors reported Wednesday after jurors convicted her of making false statements to get the money.
Darlene M. Altvater, 48, was employed by the U.S. Postal Service as a rural carrier at the Mechanicsville Post Office, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, until an on-the-job injury to her head and neck made her eligible in 2001 to begin receiving federal workers’ compensation benefits.
Altvater continued to receive worker’s compensation benefits based on her disability, including from January 2005 through December of last year while she was operating a salon, day spa and fitness center, first in Leonardtown and later in California, under the names LadySlender LLC, Creative Touch Salon and Spa, and California Fitness LLC, the prosecutors’ office reported after the five-day trial.
Altvater filed forms with the postal service and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation programs claiming that she was unable to work due to her disability, according to a release from the prosecutors’ office, but trial “witnesses testified that Altvater reported to the salon on a regular basis, performing physical acts, including demonstrating the use of the fitness equipment, performing pedicures and giving massages.”
Altvater faces a possible maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each of the two counts of making false statements, the prosecutors’ office reports, when she is sentenced next January.