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Investigators use high-tech methods to combat work comp fraud

As has been made abundantly clear in our blog, employers -- both public and private -- are routinely victimized by instances of employee fraud in which the employee makes misrepresentations regarding the severity or symptoms of their injury. Fortunately, many of these unscrupulous employees are apprehended by law enforcement officials and held accountable for their actions.

How then do state officials here in California and across the U.S. crack down on work comp fraud? Specifically, what tools are at their disposal?

A recent story on the Special Investigations Department of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation provides some fascinating answers.

Like something out of a spy novel, workers with the Special Investigations Department of the Ohio BWC use a variety of tools to catch work comp fraud in the act, including undercover vans, hidden microphones, long-range cameras and pinhole cameras.

These efforts have paid off as the team has documented hundreds of cases of work comp fraud leading to convictions and, even more importantly, savings for the state. Last year alone, the Special Investigation Unit saved the Ohio BWC $73 million.

"It's very disheartening to see people abuse the system because there are people who are genuinely hurt and who genuinely deserve this benefit," said one of the team's special agents.

In addition to conducting surveillance in the field, the Special Investigations Unit also works to stop potential work comp fraud before it even happens, examining BWC data for potential patterns.

"You have to know the system to know how to beat the system," said the head of the BWC's intelligence unit. "We sit around in staffing meetings, trying to figure out if we're going to try to get money out of workers comp -- how would we go about doing it - and then we turn around and build data queries to go try to mine that data to see who else might have thought of that idea."

Workers compensation fraud/employee fraud is a very serious crime. If you suspect that such a crime has been perpetrated against your organization, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced workers' comp defense attorney.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Source:

WBNS-TV, "Group catches workers' comp cheaters in the act," Kurt Ludlow, May 10, 2012

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