Former Postal Employee Sentenced for Insurance Fraud and Pays More Than $150K in Restitution

For Immediate Release
July 10, 2013

CONTACT: Stephanie Ong Stillman, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1167 or (415) 740-5134
ADA Alex Bastian, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1931

San Francisco, CA – District Attorney George Gascón announced that former United States Postal employee Tiong C. Ong, age 51, formerly of Saratoga, California, was sentenced to a felony violation of filing a false insurance claim and ordered to pay $157,173 in restitution to the United States Department of Labor.

“Public sector employees are expected to conduct themselves ethically and responsibly. The public money recovered in this case is welcome news, especially in these tough economic times,” said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. “Thanks to the thorough investigation conducted by the Office of Inspector General of the United States Postal Service, the defendant’s days of committing fraud are over.”

“The American public expects postal employees to be diligent and honest. Through its investigations, the Office of Inspector General helps ensure that integrity. When US Postal employees’ actions turn to criminal violations, such as the abuse of the workers’ compensation program, those individuals are aggressively investigated by USPS OIG Special Agents,” said Scott Pierce, Special Agent in Charge, US Postal Service Office of Inspector General.

The following facts have been taken from filed court documents:

The defendant began working at the US Postal Service as a tractor trailer operator in 1993. He injured his back and sciatica nerve while working and began receiving monthly disability payments in 2000. Throughout the entire time he received benefits, he allegedly submitted annual written statements certifying that he had not worked for any employer, had not been self-employed, and had not been involved in any business enterprise in the previous 15 months.

From January 2002 – June 2003, the defendant was employed as a general manager of a Domino’s Pizza Store in Sunnyvale, CA. In June of 2003, he acquired a 51% interest in the corporation that owned the franchise of the Domino’s Pizza Store in Sunnyvale, CA. He was seen thereafter allegedly acting as a delivery driver, order taker, and pizza maker.

The defendant’s corporation sold the Sunnyvale franchise in approximately October of 2008. A few months later, in February of 2009, he allegedly formed a new corporation in Hawaii. Approximately one month later in March 2009, the new corporation entered into an agreement to buy a second Domino’s Pizza Store in Honolulu Hawaii. He was observed in Hawaii opening and closing the store, talking on the phone, and delivering pizzas.

The case came to light in January 2010, when a United States Postal Service human resources employee noticed that every time he visited the defendant’s home, he wasn’t there. This raised suspicions and the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General initiated an investigation and learned about the defendant’s employment by, and subsequent ownership interests in, the Domino’s Pizza stores.

The defendant was arraigned on December 6, 2010 on nineteen felony charges, including:
one count each of grand theft and filing a false insurance claim, eight counts of preparing a writing in support of a false insurance claim, and ten counts concealing or failing to disclose an event affecting the right to insurance benefits. On March 12, 2013, the defendant pled guilty to one felony violation of filing a false insurance claim. He was sentenced yesterday by Honorable Samuel Feng to pay $157,173.12 in restitution to the US Department of Labor, probation for 5 years, 310 hours community service and 90 days in the county jail. At the sentencing, the Defendant paid $150,000 towards the restitution order.

The conviction is the result of a one-year investigation by the US Postal Service, Office of Inspector General and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. Assistant District Attorney Laura Meyers prosecuted the case.

Anyone who has information about anyone committing workers’ compensation fraud is encouraged to call the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office fraud hotline at (415) 553-9535.