- Mark Gokavi Staff Writer
The former West Carrollton postal worker too injured to work but allegedly seen vacationing and riding amusement park rides reached a plea deal Monday with federal prosecutors.
Laticha Schroyer’s trial on counts of theft and false statements related to federal workers’ compensation benefits was to begin Tuesday in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.
Instead, Schroyer, 43, pleaded guilty Monday by bill of information to one count of misdemeanor false statements related to federal workers’ compensation, which ended a case her defense attorney said was “absolutely” overcharged.
The statement of facts read into the record stated that Schroyer — who worked as a postal employee from late 2003 until August 2015 — was not truthful in a July 22, 2015 interview with a special agent from the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General.
“That was the one part of the charges that was just revised in the past month or so, that she was willing to plea to in any form,” said defense attorney Julius Carter, who said Schroyer was adamant that her 2016 medical diagnosis was correct and related to a 2015 injury.
Schroyer’s plea came after 11th-hour plea negotiations stretched from Monday morning into Monday afternoon.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rose scheduled Schroyer’s sentencing for Dec. 15 and ordered a pre-sentence investigation.
Rose said the federal misdemeanor Schroyer is pleading guilty to is punishable by up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $100,000, restitution and one year of supervised release.
Defense attorney Anthony VanNoy advised his client that her advisory guideline sentencing range would be zero to six months.
“I think she’s been punished enough,” Carter said, adding that they will advocate for probation or less. “She lost her job for something that she did not plead to.”
The theft of government money count would have been punishable by maximum penalties of up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine plus three years of supervised release.
Schroyer, a letter carrier, had claimed she couldn’t sit, stand or walk for more than five or 10 minutes at a time.
But court documents allege Schroyer was seen in airport and amusement park surveillance traveling and riding a ride at Orlando’s Sea World water park.
On May 5, 2015, Schroyer reported to a supervisor that she was injured while attempting to lift a heavy package, according to the indictment.
Two days later, a physician placed her on light duty and Schroyer submitted a claim, alleging she suffered an injury to her right side and pelvic area, documents indicate.
On June 13, 2015, Schroyer and her boyfriend flew from Dayton to Orlando, Fla. Schroyer “had a carry-on bag and walked without assistance through the Dayton International Airport,” the indictment said.
During a week-long vacation, Schroyer went to Aquatica, a water park at Sea World, and rode rides including the HooRoo Run, where she was observed climbing several flights of stairs without assistance or difficulty, according to court documents.