FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- Former major league outfielder Elliott Maddox faces grand theft charges for exaggerating a knee injury to collect workers compensation.
Records show Maddox, a counselor for Florida's Division of Children and Families, collected $36,000 in pay and medical benefits for nearly all of 1998 and 1999 because he claimed he had a severe knee injury, the Sun-Sentinal of Fort Lauderdale reported Monday.
Maddox, 51, reported to his DCF bosses that he was at home in Coral Springs and too hobbled to work. However, he was running baseball camps for the city of Coral Springs. Maddox's company, J.T. Sports, received at least $49,000 from Coral Springs while he was away from his state job, according to city documents.
Investigators with the Florida Division of Risk Management say they videotaped Maddox ``walking, running, bending both knees, performing pitching windups and carrying equipment' during the times he claimed to be too injured to report to work.
Maddox, who played for six major league teams, including the New York Yankees and Mets, resigned his $27,000-a-year job with DCF on Oct. 25, after the state began the paperwork to fire him.
He was arrested on Oct. 28 on charges of workers' compensation fraud, grand theft and perjury in official proceedings. Conviction on the grand theft charge alone carries a prison term of up to 15 years.
Maddox pleaded not guilty in November. A court hearing is set for later this month to possibly set a trial date.
Fred Haddad, Maddox's lawyer, said his client ``obviously' has bad knees, and has had 12 surgeries related to this problem.
He sued New York City in 1975 for up to $12 million after he slipped and fell on a wet field at Shea Stadium and injured his leg. He continued to play for several seasons, but blamed the knee injury for his failure to regain peak form and the premature end of his baseball career.
The case bounced around the courts for a decade before an appeals court rejected it.
In March 1997, Maddox injured his knee again, twisting it while working for DCF at a school. He had an operation and was in and out of work for a year.
Maddox retired in 1980 after an 11-year career. He had a .261 average with 18 homers and 234 RBIs.
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