An Auburn man admitted Wednesday to stealing more than $83,000 in workers' compensation benefits and not providing employees at his logging company with workers' compensation insurance coverage. 

David Sigl, 54, pleaded guilty to three felony charges — second-degree grand larceny, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and second-degree insurance fraud. He also pleaded guilty to the workers' compensation crime of failure to secure compensation, a misdemeanor. 

The charges stem from an investigation conducted by state Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott and Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann. The inquiry found that Sigl collected workers' compensation benefits beginning in early 2013 after suffering an injury while working as a heavy equipment operator for a construction firm in Syracuse. 

Sigl filed documents to the state Workers' Compensation Board asserting he wasn't working while collecting the benefits, but investigators found he was operating Lake Country Logging, a small business with two employees. 

"This defendant claimed total disability but ultimately admitted to climbing in and out of a large, articulated log-skidder tractor, climbing up and down trees and wielding chainsaws," Budelmann said in a news release.

Sigl, according to Budelmann, earned more than $150,000 from his ownership of Lake Country Logging. During that time, he collected more than $83,000 in workers' compensation benefits he was ineligible to receive. 

The investigation also revealed that Sigl didn't provide workers' compensation coverage for his employees at Lake Country Logging — a violation of state law. 

"(Sigl) brazenly abused and stole from a system meant to protect honest, hardworking New York employees and employers," Scott said. 

Sigl entered his guilty plea in Cayuga County Court. He will be sentenced on Nov. 14. 

Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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