Burned workers in Tulsa are charged with workers' comp fraud

Three workers in Tulsa are the first to be charged with workers' comp fraud this year in Oklahoma.
by Nolan Clay Modified: March 28, 2013 at 10:20 pm •  Published: March 29, 2013

TULSA — Three burned co-workers at a metal fabrication company here are accused in charges of workers' compensation fraud of lying about how they were injured.

Nathaniel Eugene McAlexander, 35; Joshua A. Duckworth, 23; and Andrew Ozias, 21, are the first to be charged this year by the Oklahoma attorney general's office with workers' compensation fraud.

They worked the evening shift at L.E.F. Inc.

The three blamed their facial burns on a flash fire caused by a leaking welding torch inside the plant the night of Nov. 19, 2011. All three filed for workers' compensation benefits in December 2011.

Prosecutors allege they really suffered the burns while playing around outside the plant with small explosives.

No evidence of equipment malfunction was found inside the plant, and a fourth worker at the plant that night said he did not see or hear any flash fire or explosion.

Outside the plant, a supervisor found a soot-covered cigarette lighter, a pressure tank, fragments of a balloon, a burned and exploded five-gallon plastic container and two plastic drinking bottles believed to have been used as small explosive devices, an attorney general's investigator reported.

The supervisor also found inside McAlexander's work locker fireworks, a golf ball with a fuse inside it, several balloons and several plastic, hollow practice golf balls.

The felony charges are pending in Tulsa County District Court.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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