An Orange County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with perjury and insurance fraud for allegedly engaging in heavy CrossFit exercises while collecting compensation for work-related injuries.
Nicholas Zappas, 36, of Laguna Niguel was arrested on Friday and charged with 11 felony counts of insurance fraud and seven felony counts of perjury under oath, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
He was accused of failing to disclose his true physical abilities and activities to his doctors and lying under oath. If convicted, he faces up to 16 years in prison.
Zappas, a 14-year Sheriff’s Department veteran, was working in the Harbor Patrol division and engaged in a boat rescue in April 2015 when authorities said he tripped over a fire hose and fell on his back.
Prosecutors said Zappas filed a workers’ compensation insurance claim for injuries to his left shoulder, left side of his neck and lower back.
After he complained of pain, a doctor placed him on work restrictions of no lifting, pushing or pulling anything greater than 10 pounds, prosecutors said. The Sheriff’s Department assigned him to dispatch to accommodate his restrictions.
He was receiving funds from an insurance policy, prosecutors said.
From May to November 2015, Zappas was accused of engaging in CrossFit, a high-impact exercising. Prosecutors said he lifted more than 200 pounds in weights, and did box jumps, burpees, squats and other activities in contradiction to the limits imposed by his doctors.
Prosecutors said he didn’t tell his doctors about his CrossFit workouts and then lied under oath during a deposition, denying that he lifted more than 20 pounds since his injuries.
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