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School system worker charged with worker's comp fraud

Published 1:15 pm, Saturday, November 2, 2013
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A Board of Education employee receiving worker's compensation payments while he was off the job, was meanwhile running a landscaping business, cutting trees and lawns for the Bridgeport Roman Catholic Diocese, police said.

Michael Garrison, 55, of Cold Spring Road in West Haven, was charged last Friday with worker's compensation fraud, perjury and failure to carry worker's compensation insurance.

Garrison surrendered to the Chief State's Attorney's Office after learning there was a warrant for his arrest. He was released on a written promise to appear in court.

Garrison, who worked as a groundskeeper for the Fairfield public schools, had been out of work since 2009 after claiming to have suffered knee and back injuries while on the job, the arrest affidavit states. Last September, he was called in to have his status reviewed, but canceled because he said he was in too much pain.

However, records show that on that day Garrison was working at St. Theresa Church and School in Trumbull, according to the affidavit. He was paid nearly $40,000 by the diocese doing custodial and landscaping work, including tree removal, the affidavit states.

In addition, Garrison, the owner of Garrison Landscaping, was paid more than $12,000 to do landscaping and storm cleanup at Rosebud Village Condominiums in Trumbull, according to the document.

An official for the condominium told police Garrison was on the site while the work was being done, directing employees who also worked for the Board of Education.

Mary Carroll-Mirylees, the town's director of human resources, said she could not comment on a town employee.