PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A guard at the Bucks County Correctional Facility who was accused of trying to cheat workers’ compensation has been found not guilty.
Carl Stokes, 52, was found not guilty of workers’ comp fraud, theft and other charges.
Stokes’ attorney, Dean Malik, said Stokes was injured after he was assaulted by an inmate in the fall of 2017.
“He became incapable of performing the functions of a corrections officer because it involves the potential combat with inmates,” Malik said.
In addition to being a prison guard, Stokes was an Army vet who toured in Iraq and Afghanistan. But since he was in his 50s and had previous injuries from a military helicopter crash, he was trying to find a new career.
He bought a fishing boat, got a license to give fishing tours on the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers, and started trying to build his business.
And, Malik said, when Stokes filed for workers’ comp, he answered the questions honestly and never intended to mislead anyone.
“The form itself does not provide instructions for what to do if you have a business that has not yet made any money but you hope it will in the future,” he added. “There’s no instructions about reporting what might happen in the future.”
Malik said it’s frustrating that rather than asking Stokes what was going on, prosecutors sent out undercover narcotics detectives to secretly record Stokes taking them on a fishing tour.
“I thought it was extremely unfair and heavy-handed,” Malik said. “It could have been handled very differently from the very start, and I think they should have given him the benefit of the doubt.”