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California county taking fight against work comp fraud to the streets

As we've explored in previous discussions, counties throughout the state routinely receive grant money from the California Department of Insurance and other organizations to fight workers' compensation fraud. For the most part, this money goes toward funding investigations and prosecutions. However, one California county is using these funds to literally take the fight against work comp fraud to the streets.

The San Diego County District Attorney's Office announced last week that it was using grant money provided by the Department of Insurance and the California Workers' Compensation Fraud Assessment Commission to fund the placement of 65 billboards and transit shelter posters throughout the county.

These billboards and posters -- which depict a person wearing handcuffs and a jail jumpsuit -- carry the following message: "Commit workers comp fraud get a new outfit: Don't do it. Don't tolerate it. Report it."

"Workers' compensation fraud increases when the economy struggles," said San Diego County DA Bonnie Dumanis. "Ultimately, the crime hits all of us in our wallets. This anti-fraud message will be seen by an estimated 1 million people every day in San Diego County."

According to state officials, work comp fraud costs California residents roughly $4 billion a year and can take roughly three forms:

  • Employees exaggerating or fabricating their work injuries
  • Employers failing to carry work comp insurance or report accurate payroll
  • Healthcare providers billing for services that were not provided

It should be noted that the San Diego County DA's Office has been leveraging grant money to fight work comp fraud via public outreach since 2008. Since that time, it has released 180,000 direct mailers to employers, 340 movie screen ads, 200,000 workplace posters and dozens of messages in various publications. In addition, it has run public service announcements on television and performed community presentations.

These efforts appear to be working as the DA has secured more than $6 million in restitution and 399 work comp fraud convictions over the last four years.

"Fighting insurance fraud is one of my top priorities as Insurance Commissioner," said Commissioner Dave Jones. "I am pleased to partner with the San Diego County District Attorney in this public awareness campaign reminding the public that committing insurance fraud is illegal."

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:

San Diego County District Attorney's Office, "District attorney places fraud warnings on billboards across San Diego County," Nov. 8, 2012

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