While Susan J. Gissy managed to avoid a lengthy prison sentence for fraudulently collecting workers’ compensation, the Citrus County woman and former local mail carrier still has to repay every cent she stole from the U.S. government.
During Gissy’s Monday sentencing hearing at the U.S. District Courthouse in Ocala, Judge Roy B. Dalton ordered Gissy to forfeit the $112,612.64 in federal disability benefits she unlawfully obtained because she lied about her medical condition, court records show.
Dalton also departed from the recommended punishment for Gissy of between 15 and 21 months in federal prison.
Instead, the judge sentenced Gissy to serve three years probation, 100 hours of community service and 30 days at the Brevard County work camp, according to the Middle District of Florida’s U.S. Attorney’s Office.
U.S. Attorney spokesman William Daniels said prosecutors “respect the decisions of the court.” Gissy’s attorney out of Orlando, Robert Leventhal, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Following a four-day trial the week of Dec. 11, 2017, in Orlando, jurors found Gissy guilty of theft of government funds and two counts of making false statements to obtain federal employees’ compensation, according to reports.
Gissy faced up to 10 years in federal prison on her theft charge and up to five years on each of the concealment charges.
Gissy was employed as a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service (USPS) office in Crystal River, where she’d worked since 1986.
She filed a disability claim in 2011 for federal workers’ compensation in connection to a work-related back injury, which she claimed “limited both her daily activities and lifestyle,” court documents state.
Because of how she misrepresented her injury to her treating physicians, Gissy received a permanent disability impairment rating in 2014, and received $112,612.64 in compensation.
Federal agents with the USPS Office of the Inspector General suspected Gissy was wrongfully obtaining disability benefits in 2016 when she responded to a marketing survey that was part of an undercover investigation into potential fraud in disability payments.
In the fictitious survey, Gissy answered that she shops five times a week, goes boating, cycling, dancing, lifts weights and travels to the Caribbean for pleasure, “staying 11 or more nights,” court documents show.
Investigators confirmed Gissy’s physical activities and international travels during a series of surveillance and wired telephone operations, which caught Gissy scuba diving, boating and riding 40-foot-tall waterslides.
Following their surveillance, undercover agents questioned Gissy, who said her back “was not getting better and could not stand or sit for too long without experiencing significant pain.”
“Gissy noted that she ‘had to be careful’ and couldn’t ‘do anything stupid or (she’d) pay for it for days,’” a court document states. “When asked if she thought she could return to work ... in a more limited role ... Gissy responded, ‘What kind of job includes a cot?’”
Gissy was arrested in December 2016, the same month a federal grand jury first indicted her. An amended indictment was later filed in June.
Contact Chronicle reporter Buster Thompson at 352-564-2916 or email@example.com.