Post Office Worker Sentenced for Faking Cancer to Take Sick Leave

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Published Saturday, August 26, 2017

Defendant faked doctor notes and planned to lie about sickness until her retirement

Caroline Zarate Boyle, 60, of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, was sentenced this week by U.S. District Court Judge Raymond P. Moore to serve five years' probation with the first six months in home confinement including wearing an electronic monitor.

Boyle was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and spend 652 hours doing community service to be served at a cancer treatment center, cancer research center or hospice. She was also ordered to pay $20,798.38 in restitution to the U.S. Postal Service. 

Boyle was first charged in March this year, and was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver later that month. She pled guilty to the indictment as charged without a plea agreement in April before being sentenced Tuesday.

In the summer of 2015, after Boyle was passed over for a promotion, she decided to take some time off work by pretending to have cancer. She told her supervisor that she was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She then began taking substantial amounts of sick leave, despite the fact that she was not ill.

Boyle continued the act until she was caught following an interviewed by an agent of the Postal Service's Office of the Inspector General in February. During the 20 months that Boyle's fraud lasted, she used her non-existent cancer treatment to support both undeserved sick leave and accommodations allowing her to work part-time or work from home. Boyle planned to continue the act until her scheduled retirement in April 2017. Despite claiming that cancer treatment had made her too sick to work or come to the office, she was planning a post-retirement cruise to Hawaii.

During the course of the investigation it was determined that Boyle e-mailed her supervisor notes from two different doctors indicating that she was receiving cancer treatment. However, the notes were created by Boyle as she was not a patient of either doctor. 

Prior to faking cancer herself, Boyle had falsely accused a subordinate of faking cancer and denied her certain accommodations which that employee had requested due to her sickness. In contrast, Boyle was often granted paid administrative leave, instead of using her sick leave, and allowed to work from home up to five days a week based on her cancer claim.