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Hot dog cart operator guilty of employee fraud

It is great when people decide to go into business for themselves. However, if a person is also receiving disability benefits from workers' compensation, this can cause a serious legal problem in California. It can also be financially detrimental to an employer who is paying the premiums for the insurance covering the benefits received. One worker who had decided to try and take advantage of the system recently pleaded guilty to criminal charges of employee fraud.

The man had been receiving benefits for temporary total disability when authorities received allegations that the man was operating his own hot dog cart business. This was problematic since claimants are not allowed to work while receiving these benefits. Investigators discovered that the man was cooking and serving food to customers, and they also found pictures online showing the man working at the hot dog cart.

The worker eventually pleaded guilty to charges of workers' compensation fraud in late July. The man paid full restitution of more than $4,000 prior to pleading to the misdemeanor count. He was also ordered to pay for court costs incurred as a result of processing his case.

This case illustrates what could happen to any employer in California that has an employee receiving disability benefits from workers' compensation. Although most people are honest, there are still some who are willing to take advantage of the system. Employee fraud can result in significant financial burdens for the employer resulting from increases of insurance premiums. Therefore, it is a good idea for an employer to be vigilant and to act upon any suspicious activities.

Source: workerscompensation.com, "Ohio Hot Dog Vendor Sentenced for Workers' Comp Fraud", August 14, 2015

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