Last week, our blog discussed how the Workers' Comp Fraud Unit of the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office declared that it was ramping up its efforts to prosecute both uninsured employers and business owners who fail to abide by the state's employment and work comp laws.
Those men and women who serve as police officers here in the state of California deserve our utmost appreciation for their hard and dangerous work. In fact, it's important to understand that due to the inherently strenuous nature of their job, many of these police officers are susceptible to a multitude of serious and altogether debilitating work injuries.
When most of us envision workers' compensation fraud, we probably think of the office worker who fakes a knee sprain or the industrial worker who is dishonest about the extent/severity of their back injury. While this is arguably what happens the majority of the time, it's also important to realize that work comp fraud can sometimes be an altogether intricate endeavor involving multiple parties and complex planning.
There is an unfortunate perception among some employees that certain types of fraudulent conduct can be neatly classified as a "victimless crime." For example, some employees will either fake or exaggerate the extent of their injuries in order to collect work comp benefits. Such conduct is far from a victimless crime, however, as it can cost employers, insurers and taxpayers thousands of dollars.
As we've explored in previous discussions, counties throughout the state routinely receive grant money from the California Department of Insurance and other organizations to fight workers' compensation fraud. For the most part, this money goes toward funding investigations and prosecutions. However, one California county is using these funds to literally take the fight against work comp fraud to the streets.
Back in April, we discussed how the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District in Industry was being plagued by repeat occurrences of work comp fraud over a relatively short amount of time. Specifically, we examined how six district employees have faced criminal charges for lying about their work injuries since 2011.
Earlier this year, our blog discussed how multiple agencies in the state of California were officially joining forces to crack down on the so-called "underground economy," meaning both uninsured employers, and those employers who abuse state employment and work comp laws.
The majority of our workers' compensation defense posts discussing work comp fraud have to do with employees accused of engaging in some sort of deceptive behavior in order to secure benefits or employers accused of failing to provide employees the necessary amount of work comp coverage.
In recent uninsured employer news, the owners of a northern California roofing company were arrested by law enforcement officials last week on a multitude of work comp fraud charges.
From office employees and medical professionals to landscapers and construction workers, it's not unusual to read stories about employee fraud/work comp fraud occurring here in California. What is far more unusual, however, is to read stories about one particular company or employer being plagued by repeat occurrences of work comp fraud over a relatively short amount of time.