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California man sentenced for workers' compensation fraud

Workers' compensation fraud is considered a very serious crime even if it is attempted with good intentions. An employer who is accused of defrauding the state or federal government could be responsible for heavy restitution and jail time if found to be liable. Recently, a California psychologist admitted in court to workers' compensation fraud and apologized for fraudulent actions against the government, including over billing for workers' compensation claims.

Reports reveal that the elderly psychologist expressed his gratitude at being discovered, though he claims his motive for inflated billing was so that he could afford to provide treatment to patients who could not afford his services. The man faced seven counts of fraud, though six were dismissed and he pleaded guilty to just one. His sentencing included repayment of over $172,000 and five years of probation, the first year of which is home-bound confinement.

According to court records, two others were involved in the workers' compensation fraud, though details pertaining to their connection with the psychologist was not disclosed. The two worked for the U.S. Postal Service and were charged with submitting fraudulent statements in an attempt to collect federal benefits for employee medical expenses. They were able to make a plea agreement allowing them similar repayment and probationary action as was given to the psychologist.

Reports indicate that the courts did accept written recommendations from friends and family of the psychologist prior to determining sentencing. Although the man could lose his license to practice, a number of patients were in the courtroom to support the doctor during the proceedings. Creating a good defense for workers' compensation fraud may be an option California business owners choose when faced with potentially severe consequences.

Source: insurancejournal.com, California Psychologist Sentenced In Workers??? Comp Fraud, Linda Deutsch, Feb. 6, 2014

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