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Man sentenced in California employee fraud case

The state of California tries to protect workers in case they are injured while on the job by requiring employers to provide workers' compensation coverage. Many employers do everything they can to provide safe working conditions for the employees and help ensure the compensation process goes smoothly in the event of an accident. However, some people illegally claim they are entitled to such compensation. One man has recently been convicted of employee fraud for improperly requesting workers' compensation benefits.

According to information presented at trial, a 59-year-old Navy veteran told representatives from the Navy and Veteran Affairs that he was unable to work due to back and knee injuries. In addition to claiming that he was unable to work, he also claimed that he did not own any businesses. However, the court found that these claims were untrue.

Evidence was presented that convinced the court that the man not only operated a landscaping business, but had also exaggerated his disabilities. In fact, prosecutors claimed that the defendant personally completed many of the tasks requested by his landscaping customers. In fact, the man provided business cards with a business that he had named after himself.

A jury in California found the man guilty of 16 crimes, and the judge has sentenced him to two years in prison. In addition to prison time, he has been ordered to pay back over $350,000 in fraudulently received compensation in addition to a fine. Any employee injured at work deserves to have their medical needs and other relevant expenses cared for, but employee fraud such as this makes it difficult for both employers and those who rightfully qualify for such compensation. Any employer who suspects fraud has the option of seeking legal recourse in a civil court.

Source: Coronado, CA Patch, "Navy Vet Sentenced to 2 Years for Workers Comp Fraud," Jennifer Vigil, July 24, 2013

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