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Filing fraudulent workers' compensation claims hurts employers

It's hard to fathom why anyone would take advantage of the workers' compensation system, but unfortunately it happens all of the time. As an employer, you do everything you can to provide employees with a safe and productive work environment. Cheating the system by falsifying a workers' compensation claim can cause an increase in premiums for employers as well as hurt those individuals that actually have a valid claim.

Recently a Florida prison guard was charged with fraudulently collecting approximately $2.7 million in workers' compensation payments. His claim paid more than $563,000 for alleged lost income.

The man had filed a workers' compensation claim in 1995 stating that his job exposed him to rats and rat feces which resulted in respiratory problems and that he needed an oxygen tank 24 hours a day. The Department of Financial Services started an investigation because they were suspicious of his claims. Surveillance video taken over several years showed that the man was not oxygen-dependent but was able to play guitar in a band, drive his car and smoke cigarettes.

With this evidence, authorities arrested the man. According to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation Fraud, cases like this can result in approximately $1.5 million in court-ordered restitution.

Workers' compensation fraud is a very serious crime and if you are questioning a workers' compensation claim filed by an employee, it's important to speak with an experienced workers' compensation defense attorney who will take the steps necessary to protect your business.

In this case, if this man is convicted he could face up to 30 years in prison.

Source: The Florida Current, "Ex-prison guard charged with workers' comp fraud," Nov. 30, 2012

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