Employee Cries Wolf for Donated Leave Time from Others

September 28, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A federal employee in California has been charged with fraud and identity theft after claiming he had cancer to take advantage of federal employees' ability to donate leave time to others.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that U.S. Geological Survey employee Robert Joseph Thom was charged with 10 counts of wire fraud and five counts of identity theft. Federal court documents indicated in December Thom told his employer in writing that he had undergone urgent surgeries for the removal of malignant tumors in late November, according to the Union-Tribune.

In his paperwork Thom applied to have his condition made known to fellow employees so they could donate annual leave to him. As of August 3, Thom had received 869 hours of leave equaling about $35,388 in pay from 30 employees, the court documents said.

When his employer checked on the letters, they discovered they were fake. One doctor told officials Thom was his patient but that the letters were “complete and utter fraud,” court records state. He denied ever treating Thom for the medical condition described.

Federal officials accused Thom of forging four letters from doctors.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Geological Survey said the employees who donated leave will get it back.