Butte woman charged with theft of $16K in workers compensation benefits

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HELENA, Montana — A Butte woman is charged with felony theft of more than $16,000 in worker's compensation benefits after filing what state officials say was a false claim.

Melody Collier pleaded not guilty in District Court in Helena on Thursday. The Independent Record reports (http://bit.ly/1yQPMlL ) a Feb. 3 trial date was set.

Prosecutors allege Collier tripped and fell at home in April 2013, but filed a claim with the Montana State Fund saying she heard her knee pop when she stepped down from a walk-in cooler while working at a sandwich shop. She suffered torn cartilage that required surgery.

Court records say Collier's boss was suspicious of her claim because she did not report it right away. A few months later, a woman who rented a room to Collier told Collier's boss and State Fund investigators that the fall happened at her residence.

Information from: Independent Record, http://www.helenair.com

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