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Man files fraudulent workers' compensation claims, faces charges

Workers' compensation is a very beneficial tool for employees to use in order to gain compensation for an injury they may have sustained while on the job. These benefits could help hold them over while they are unable to work and assist in paying medical bills or other expenses. Because workers' compensation is so helpful, there are unfortunately some employees who wish to take advantage of their employers and claim they sustained a work injury that left them unable to work when that is not the case. Fraudulent workers' compensation claims can lead to serious setbacks for employers and possible jail time for workers committing the fraud.

A man in a state neighboring California has been charged with 15 felony counts of theft due to workers' compensation fraud he committed. In 1996, he was injured on the job when a door fell on him while he was working at a restaurant. He received compensation for his inability to work due to his injury, even qualifying for permanent disability. 

Recently, an investigation into the man's situation revealed that he had changed his name and had been working as a taxi driver for the last 15 years while continuing to collect disability benefits. The man had gone through multiple health examinations that deemed him fit to drive a taxi, though he signed several official documents stating that he was unable to work due to an injury in order to continue collecting payments. The charges he is facing for the fraudulent activity can leave him facing multiple fines and up to five years in jail for each felony count.

Fraudulent workers' compensation claims are an unfortunate reality that some workers commit. It can be devastating for an employer to feel that one of their employees deserves compensation for an injury sustained at work only to find out that it was a ruse. Fraudulent activity is a very serious crime and California employers could find themselves creating a defense against workers' compensation claims if they seem unwarranted.

Source: wa.gov, "Seattle cab driver faces 15 felony counts for workers' comp fraud," Aug. 3, 2013

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