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California employees charged with workers' compensation fraud

Employees who have been injured in a workplace accident may be entitled to seek assistance from workers' compensation insurance. Many of these claims are legitimate. However, sometimes employees are willing to make fraudulent workers' compensation claims, such as for injuries that never occurred, or for misrepresenting symptoms or the severity of an injury. Such claims can lead to criminal prosecution if the employee has defrauded employers and the workers' compensation insurance company.

Another way that an employee can commit workers' compensation fraud is by giving false information to the insurance company concerning any aspect of an employer's business. If doing so reduces the amount that the business will pay for workers' compensation premiums, the employee's motives can become suspect. An investigation into the misrepresentations may subject the employee and possibly the employer to criminal penalties.

In an interesting case in California, two employees were charged with workers' compensation fraud. They are scheduled to be arraigned at the end of June and the beginning of July.

According to investigators, these two employees, a 43-year-old male and a 32-year-old male, conspired to defraud the workers' compensation insurance company. They allegedly falsified employee wages and the kind of work that the employees perform. As a result of these misrepresentations, the employer paid a lower rate to the insurance company by more than $100,000.

How did these employees benefit from making these fraudulent workers' compensation claims? It appears that the only benefits were obtained by the company. It's not known what position the men held in the steel company they worked for or if the alleged fraud would have benefited them directly.

Sometimes businesses will do what they can to save costs, but they are required to follow the law.

Source: Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, "Chino steel workers facing fraud charges," Melissa Pinion-Whitt, May 31, 2012

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