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L.A. County teaching assistant charged with five counts of work comp fraud

As an employer, it's important to take the necessary steps to ensure the welfare of employees. Failure to do this can result in decreased productivity and increased insurance premiums. On the flip side, it's also important for employers to take steps to educate themselves on workers' compensation fraud as it too can affect their bottom line and their work comp premiums.

For instance, employers should be aware of some of the more common ways in which employee fraud can occur, such as misrepresentations by employees regarding the severity or even the very existence of their work injury.

To illustrate, consider a case right here in Southern California, where a teaching assistant working for the Los Angeles County Office of Education was arrested and charged with workers' compensation fraud just last week.

According to the complaint, Gerard P., 45, was assigned as a teaching assistant in the Antelope Valley Principle Administrative Unit back in 2009 when he filed a claim for work comp benefits, claiming that he had suffered a debilitating back injury while attempting to intervene in a fight between two students.

Specifically, authorities are alleging that Gerard P. invented the story about the school fight, provided no evidence of injury unrelated to his job, and made false statements to physicians and investigators on the following dates:

  • On March 30, 2009, he went to see a work comp physician for his initial medical evaluation, where he falsely claimed that he had been injured at a fight at school
  • On April 15, 2009, he provided false statements to a private investigator contracted by the state to investigate his alleged injury
  • On December 9, 2009, he provide false testimony concerning the extent of injuries during a sworn deposition

Gerard P. was ultimately arrested by detectives with the state Department of Insurance Fraud Division and charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney with five felony counts of work comp fraud. If convicted, he could be sentenced to five years in prison. His bail was set at $120,000 and it remains unclear whether he is still in custody.

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:

Insurance Journal, "Southern California educator arrested for workers' comp fraud," Oct. 9, 2012

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