Former NY Verizon employee caught deadlifting, exercising after claiming $19K in workers’ comp benefits

Local News

MATTYDALE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A former New York Verizon employee was arrested after she allegedly lied to doctors about arm injuries and received more than $19,000 in workers’ compensation and disability benefits.

Surveillance video showed Kelly Gersbacher, 44, of Mattydale, exercising and lifting weights despite her claims of being unable to work.

Gersbacher was arrested and arraigned virtually on Thursday night in East Syracuse Village Court. She was charged with the following:

  • Grand larceny in the third degree
  • Falsifying business records in the first degree (two counts)
  • Offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree
  • Workers’ Compensation Law section 114(1), penalties for fraudulent practices (two counts; all felonies)

Gersbacher worked for Verizon New York as a technician when she sustained carpal tunnel-related injuries to both arms in August of 2016.

After having multiple surgeries between 2017 and 2019, she started receiving workers’ compensation indemnity payments in January of 2019. Gersbacher also received additional payments through Verizon New York’s disability benefits plan.

As required, she attended independent medical examinations in 2019, where she claimed she could only lift 10 pounds from the ground and that, due to the injuries, she was unable to continue going to her gym.

Based on her misrepresentation of her physical condition, doctors determined that she was moderately disabled resulting in her receiving more than $19,000 in benefits.

But, video surveillance from September and October of 2019 showed Gersbacher working out at gyms and conducting multiple errands, according to New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro.

She was allegedly filmed as she performed deadlifts with weights far exceeding 10 pounds and engaged in other weightlifting activities.

This individual allegedly abused the workers’ compensation system by lying to doctors about the extent of her injuries. The workers’ compensation program provides vital funds to those who are truly injured and in need. My office will continue to work with law enforcement to find those seeking to wrongfully obtain benefits from this important program.

New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro

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