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'Injury King' Suspended In Workers Comp Probe

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Cook County corrections officer who claimed to be so prolific at faking injury that he nicknamed himself the "Duty Injury King" has been suspended without pay.

The moves comes as a result of an ongoing probe of workers compensation fraud at the sheriff's office.

The preliminary finding, released Wednesday morning by Cook County Sheriff's office, comes as the office is in the midst of auditing employee worker's compensation claims, according to a spokesman for Sheriff Tom Dart.

"Currently, over $8,000,000 of my budget is allocated for the payment of Worker's Compensation claims, yet I have no control of how the claims are investigated, defended, or paid," Dart said in a release.

Even when claims are legitimate, a backlog in the review process delays the speed at which employees can get back to work, said Frank Bilecki, a Dart spokesman.

However, there are some employees who remain under investigation for making fraudulent claims.

The correctional officer in question -- who's been investigated for similar reason in the past -- reportedly boasted to co-workers that he called himself the "Duty Injury King."

Those co-workers later told county investigators.

An injury the correctional officer is accused of faking last November is what led to his current suspension.

On Nov. 20 the man told two supervising officers he slipped in a puddle of water and injured his back while transporting a prisoner, sheriff's police said.

But when the supervisors inspected the site where the injury purportedly happened, they found a quarter-sized puddle of water on the wrong side of a locked gate, sheriff's police said.

A review of surveillance footage determined the correctional officer not only did not slip, but also wasn't even transporting a prisoner at the time.

Dart will likely pursue criminal charges against the employee, pending completion of the probe. The officer's name was not released.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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