Washougal man sentenced in workers’ comp fraud case

Daniel Lesieur, owner of Elk Ridge Custom Homes, ordered to pay $127K to state

A Washougal resident pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court earlier this month to second-degree theft for stealing workers’ compensation benefits from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

Judge Suzan Clark sentenced Daniel Lesieur, 54, to 30 days of electronic home monitoring and ordered him to pay back the L&I more than $127,000.

Lesieur deceived medical and vocational providers and lied on official forms to take nearly $121,000 in wage replacement payments and more than $6,200 in vocational training services from January 2019 to October 2021, according to L&I.

During the same time, Lesieur continued to operate his construction business, Elk Ridge Custom Homes, Inc., collecting more than $370,000 for work in the Portland and Vancouver areas, according to court documents.

“This is one of the most blatant attempts we’ve seen recently of workers’ comp fraud,” Celeste Monahan, the assistant director of L&I’s fraud prevention and labor standards division, said. “We’re pleased we put a stop to this theft. Now we can return these stolen funds to the workers’ comp system for their intended purpose — helping legitimately injured workers heal and return to work.”

L&I began an investigation in the spring of 2020 after discovering that Lesieur, who had filed workers’ compensation claims after injuring his left shoulder while shoveling asphalt in 2018, “was associated as a principal or owner with several construction businesses in the past,” according to the news release.

“But six weeks after filing the L&I injury claim … LeSieur signed a contract for his company, Elk Ridge Custom Homes, Inc., to do consumer construction projects for a national home improvement and building materials chain,” L&I stated in the news release. “He wrote in the application that his company had a work crew and annual sales revenue of $1.5 million.”

Despite having “several chances” to mention his company’s work projects in his workers’ compensation paperwork, L&I stated, Lesieur “never mentioned in L&I paperwork, nor told his medical or vocational providers about his company or the contract.”

L&I investigators claim they interviewed more than 15 Elk Ridge customers — most of whom were in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area — “who said Lesieur personally provided them bids or home remodeling services on behalf of the national chain in 2019 and 2020.”

Investigators alleged that while Lesieur continued to claim workers’ compensation benefits through May 2021, he also collected $371,000 in payments through his company.

Randy Littlefield, deputy assistant director for L&I’s Fraud Prevention and Labor Standards, said L&I does “not tolerate double-dippers who try to game the system and cheat to get benefits.”

“Wage replacement checks are intended to provide some financial assistance to seriously injured workers who aren’t working due to their injury,” Littlefield stated.

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office charged LeSieur with one count of first-degree theft. LeSieur pleaded not guilty to the charge in Clark County Superior Court in November 2022.