Cop on disability faulted for side job: drug dealer

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 30, 2012 9:59 AM
Cop on disability faulted for side job: drug dealer

(Reuters) - It's a standard feature of workers' compensation insurance policies that you can't hold a job while collecting benefits, but the Ohio Supreme Court took the definition of "job" to a new level this week -- drug dealing, it turns out, is real work.

The court, in a 7-page ruling on Thursday, said a police officer collecting permanent and total disability was improperly engaged in "sustained remunerative employment" because he was regularly selling prescription drugs.

Former Parma, Ohio, police officer Donald McNea Jr. went on disability in 2004, the court's ruling said. Between October and December 2005, he made four recorded drug sales. He was arrested that December and pled guilty to four felony charges in September 2007, receiving a three-year prison sentence.

But McNea challenged a ruling by the state's industrial commission that he had been overpaid benefits starting from the date of his first known drug sale. The state supreme court, in a unanimous judgment, supported that decision.

"McNea was performing sustained remunerative work through late December 2005, and there is no evidence that his medical condition changed afterwards so as to preclude that endeavor. The commission also found no evidence suggesting that McNea would have abandoned his long-running enterprise had he not been arrested," the court wrote.

(Reporting By Ben Berkowitz; editing by Dan Burns)