The law is made to protect everybody from being exploited. In business, this includes workers as well as employers in California. However, sometimes an employee will take advantage of the system by exaggerating an injury in order to unfairly obtain benefits via workers’ compensation. This can result in criminal charges of employee fraud with the potential for serious penalties.
This is exactly what happened recently when one construction worker was charged with workers’ compensation fraud. Investigators began looking into the man’s case when it was reported that, during the day, he was difficult to contact. Also, people reported that when they were talking with him on the telephone, they could hear machinery running in the background. Investigators discovered that the man had began working for his own construction business while still collecting disability benefits.
Apparently, the man had been fraudulently collecting benefits from November 2010 to August 2011. The man was considered temporarily totally disabled, according to his workers’ compensation claim. The man pleaded guilty to the criminal fraud charges in early June and was sentenced to 180 days in jail; however, the sentence was suspended by the judge. The man paid over $21,000 in restitution and $500 in fines, according to court records.
This case shows how important it is for an employer to be vigilant when a worker begins receiving benefits via workers’ compensation. Although most people are honest, there is always a chance that a worker could be committing employee fraud in California. In some cases, an employer will have to take legal action in order to stop the worker from taking advantage of the system.
Source: workerscompensation.com, “Ohio Man Repays $25K for Workers’ Comp Fraud“, June 15, 2015