A Helena jury found Matthew Ryan Ailer of Missoula guilty last Friday of felony workers’ compensation fraud.

Spokesman for Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, John Barnes, said Ailer, along with two others, staged a workplace accident involving a floor buffer at his place of employment, Garden City Janitorial of Missoula.

“The Montana Attorney General’s Office charged Ailer in 2014, alleging that on October 16, 2011, he had staged a work place accident with his two co-workers by placing a 200-pound floor buffer on his chest in an attempt to create work-place injuries so that he could collect worker’s compensation benefits he was not entitled to receive,” Barnes said. “Earlier this year, Ailer’s co-workers Chelsea Chafee and Jeffrey Russell pled guilty to accountability to theft of worker’s compensation benefits for their part in assisting Ailer in defrauding workers’ compensation.”

“Both Chafee and Russell testified at Ailer’s week-long trial, saying that they placed the buffer on top of Ailer’s body and that Chafee rocked the machine back and forth in an attempt to produce injury,” he said. “When no injury was produced, Russell stated he punched Ailer repeatedly in the arm and leg to try to create bruising. Montana State Fund, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier for Ailer’s employer, paid out more than $66,000 in benefits to Ailer in relation to the injury claimed on October 16, 2011. The Attorney General’s Officer further alleged that when the claim was accepted, Ailer exaggerated his symptoms to medical providers so he could receive wage loss benefits and negotiate a larger settlement.”

District Judge Kathy Seeley set sentencing for January, 2016. Ailer faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in the Montana State Prison and a fine of up to $50,000, plus restitution owed for the benefits he received.