Dacula man pleads guilty to worker's comp fraud

LAWRENCEVILLE - A 59-year-old Dacula man pleaded guilty Monday to wire fraud and worker's compensation fraud for deceiving the federal government to obtain worker's compensation benefits.

Philip Ascension Galaviz sustained a back injury in 1986 working as a civilian employee for the U.S. Air Force. He began receiving worker's compensation benefits three years later, according to Patrick Crosby, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta.

Since then, Galaviz has been reporting no income every year to remain eligible for those benefits. However, evidence showed that he had been working as a consultant for a computer programming company co-owned with his wife earning between $26,000 and $68,000 per year since 1999.

In 2004, Galaviz also became the owner and operator of a commercial and residential pressure washing and automobile detailing business.

"We will prosecute fraud schemes that undermine worker's compensation programs that exist to help injured and disabled American workers," said U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias in a statement issued Monday afternoon.

Galaviz will be sentenced June 21 before U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper. He faces up a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.