(STMW) — A former northwest suburban police officer has been charged with fraud for exaggerating the severity of a wrist injury he suffered at work to obtain benefits, state authorities announced Tuesday.

Michael Avila was with the Crystal Lake police when he filed a worker’s compensation claim in October 2012 over a wrist injury he suffered at work, according to a statement from the Illinois Department of Insurance.

But a month after the injury, when he was assigned to light duty, video surveillance cameras showed Avila lifting weights at the police station, DOI claims. That led to an investigation by the DOI Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit

Avila was later off work completely for several months after claiming to aggravate the injury at work, but additional video showed him again lifting weights and working as a personal trainer during that period, according to DOI.

Avila is charged with workers’ compensation fraud, insurance fraud, theft of government property, and theft by deception for statements he made giving the impression the injury was more extensive than it really was, the statement said.

The claim he filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission was voluntarily dismissed, the statement said.

“The worker’s compensation system is intended to cover costs for employees who are injured on the job, but the evidence in this case shows that the defendant schemed to defraud the program for his own financial benefit,” Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan said in the statement.

Avila was arraigned on Tuesday, and the case will be prosecuted by Madigan’s office, according to DOI.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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