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Trouble is, the sexily attired bicycle rider was a guy! But wait, it gets better … Kelly Strain, a 33-year-old air-conditioning installer, has been charged with two counts of insurance fraud. Prosecutors tell quite a different story than the one told by Strain and his attorney.
San Diego radio station KIOZ Rock 102.1 staged a promotion offering two front-row seat concert tickets to a guy willing to don the sexy red nightie and feathery black boa and pedal a bike from point A to point B, a 43-mile trek.
Strain said, “Sure! ” But … Strain was collecting workers’ compensation payments for an on-the-job back injury suffered in February. The alleged injury occurred while he was lifting ducting materials. He went to a doctor for treatment and his workers’ compensation claim was approved. He was told not to lift anything over 25 pounds and not to bend or stoop. For several months the symptoms persisted — lower back pain and left thigh numbness — and he remained on state disability.
When the radio station ran a promotion for the bike ride on May 11, employees at the doctor’s office heard it and told the doctor. He, in turn, called the insurance company, and they, in turn, hired an investigator to shoot video of the 43-mile ride — all of it!
The filmed antics did not appear to be those of a disabled man. Strain often turned around to wave at startled motorists, hunched down low over the handle bars and managed steep grades with apparent ease. And when the tape was shown in the courtroom — red teddy, black boa and all — smiles broke out on lots of faces. Even on the face of Judge Larry Stirling.
The case is far from over. The prosecutor thinks it’s a case of blatant workers’ compensation fraud.
Strain and his attorney have pointed out that riding a stationary bike was prescribed as therapy … and what’s the difference between pedaling 43 miles in your living room and pedaling 43 miles up and down highways? They also say that $144 a week in disability benefits are hardly an encouragement to a guy who makes over twice that amount when he works.
Time will tell. Strain remains free without bail until the next hearing on August 22, but if convicted, he could face up to five years in prison.
We just wonder what kind of an outfit he’s going to wear to court…?
© 1995 John Cooke Fraud Report