Former Solano deputy back in court in disability insurance fraud case

By From page A4 | January 09, 2013

FAIRFIELD — A former Solano County sheriff’s deputy, who has faced felony charges in Sacramento County since 2010, was in court briefly Tuesday, when his case was postponed for the 31st time.

Michael J. Oster, 51, was ordered to return to court Feb. 21 when a date for a jury trial may be scheduled.

California Department of Insurance investigators arrested Oster at his Elk Grove home in June 2010. He was charged with a two counts of felony insurance fraud and since then has been back to court on a nearly monthly basis. Oster posted bail in 2010, which was exonerated last year.

Oster went out on medical disability in November 2007 and then lied about the severity of his work-related knee injury, getting nearly $88,000 more in disability payments than what he should have received, sheriff’s officials said at the time of Oster’s arrest.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

Discussion | 7 comments

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  • BradJanuary 09, 2013 - 7:35 am

    If only people knew how frequently public service workers abused these benefits. Its really sickening. Like every cop and firefighter working non stop overtime the year before retiring (retirement goes off of the last year worked) and then they all file for diisability retirement so they dont have to pay taxes. Really disgusting that they abuse the already amazing benefits that they get.

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  • FF64January 09, 2013 - 8:23 am

    Uh, no! Overtime is not included as income for retirement. Never has been. Yes a small percentage of employees abuse disability and many are caught, and prosecuted, as they should be. The percentage of police and fire claiming a disability when ready for a service retirement i.e. over age 50, is well under 5%. The CHP had a reputation for this type of abuse, but that was frequently upper ranks. Changes in the law have made the abuse much more difficult. Local agencies, (City/County) are much less likely to approve disability retirements. In Fairfield, we've had police officers injured on duty, physically unable to return to work after multiple surgeries, wait as long as four years for a decision. After a year, they aren't collecting disability anymore and the city bleeds them dry to try to get a cheaper settlement. I've seen Solano County do the same thing.

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  • BradJanuary 09, 2013 - 9:50 am

    I work in a firm that gets them the benefits, I am well aware of how it is calculated. Your figures and facts may be for police officers alone, but I assure you it is far higher than that when lumped in with CHP and firefighters (who tend to abuse it the most). Its so incredibly easy to get a doctor to write you off that hardly anyone actually gets investigated for the legitimacy of the claim. The city bleeds them dry? How do you get bled dry with 4850 pay? Do tell.... Let's stop pretending that cops, firefighters, etc get regular State Disability like the rest of us.

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  • BradJanuary 09, 2013 - 10:03 am

    5% right? NO. http://www.ocregister.com/articles/disability-368870-police-retirement.html

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  • FF64January 09, 2013 - 11:25 am

    You say you're "well aware of how it is calculated". Are you still claiming overtime income is used to calculate retirement benefits? 4850 time only lasts one year. When it is expired, the employee is dependent on their own leave time and any other disability insurance. These typically are exhausted after several months and the employee then is only paid for leave that is accrued, usually one day per month. The agency and their contracted disability insurance vender then have all the time in the world to drag a settlement out. I totally agree with you that benefits can and are abused. I disagree with your assertion that "they all..." commit these acts which are criminal. The jerk in the above article deserves what he gets, probably worse.

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  • Fairfield ResidentJanuary 09, 2013 - 12:03 pm

    The victims are those who are truly disabled...especially if they cannot communicate for themselves.

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  • Fomer DeputyJanuary 28, 2013 - 5:37 am

    I love all the monday morning quarterbacks who automatically assume this deputy is guilty. The truth will soon come out as how the county has lied and concealed evidence against this former deputy who just underwent his #8th knee surgery since being injured while on duty. And how the county has tried to fire him before after his first on-duty injury and was caught in a lie and a violations of his peace officers rights, but yet no one was punished for lying about him then. Seems to be a lot of lying and perjury going on at the sheriffs office. Maybe you should look at the counties workers comp carrier who was violating his labor law rights and possible hundreds of other Solano county workers labor law rights, and no agency will investigate the labor law violation that, could be costing Solano County employees thousands of dollars out of their pockets even with evidence showing the violation by the county, but they will investigate this deputy. Look at the criminal case that was filed against the suspect who injured this deputy and you will see that the sheriffs office failed to turn over reports and assist the DA's office in prosecuting the suspect for injuring and causing this deputy to medically retire. Or how the county held up the retirement for close to one year even after the counties own doctor said he could not come back to work. You might want to look more closely at the sheriffs offices investigator who started the investigation. He was have found to have perjured himself, threatened witnesses and withheld evidence in another fraud case in Solano county involving another sheriffs employee who was cleared of any wrong doing, but you never read that in any paper. Plus the investigator in both these cases has with close ties to the current and former sheriff is still employed and has never been charged with a crime yet. Maybe it's time to bring in an outsider and clean out the good old boys there who decide who stays and who goes. It reminds me when Margo Weber was fired for perjury, but was brought back and then promoted makes sense for someone who committed perjury her whole career and made life miserable for others. Or for some of the deputies who do not pass probation and are fired while others are given jobs in the jail as correctional officers because of there association with the administration. You have a current sheriffs Sgt who was caught having sex on duty with another deputies wife a few years back, was not fired and then lies in court to protect the sheriffs office in another case, which made the paper and all of a sudden he is promoted. You have employees fired for viewing porn on county computers while others are not, are there different punishments for some? What about supervisors who threaten to fire employees who are not punished, but who are later promoted? Wake up people, the fraud is being committed by the sheriffs office against the people of Solano county, these are just some of the things that have been going on and there is still more to come out. This was not a crime but political payback against an honest hard working deputy. Look into his background and see what he did before coming to Solano County and things will not add up.

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