Those that commit workers’ comp fraud against the United States government are in the major leagues of stupidity and hubris.
Check out these 3 head-shaking cases in the news recently:
In mid-December, former California Highway Patrol Officer Tony Yao received a jury conviction on felony charges stating that he did not disclose a previous motor vehicle accident and injury that he had when making and filing a workers’ compensation claim.
The officer had been working in the Commissioner’s Support Unit when he claimed he suffered an injury to his back. The Internal Affairs Department investigated the matter and discovered his failure to disclose the accident from 2005. This accident injured the same part of his back that he claimed to have injured when he filed his claim.
Yao claimed that he needed to have help with everyday activities, such as grooming and dressing, and that he could no longer twist, bend, or walk unless he had a cane. However, the investigators were able to obtain video of Yao walking and working in his yard without a cane.
Yao will face up to 7 years in prison, as well as fines up to $250,000, or double the amount of the fraud – they will choose whichever one happens to be greater. Sentencing in this case will occur January 28, 2015.
A San Bernardino County Department of Child Support Services officer underwent arraignment in late December for three felony accounts of workers’ comp fraud. She had initially filed these on July 20, 2009, saying that she was suffering from “stress-related impairment”.
Esther Marinelarena pleaded not guilty to one count of insurance fraud, failure to disclose material fact regarding insurance benefits, and one count of concealment. She’s charged with making false statements in regards to the severity of the impairment and lying to her doctors about her medical and psychiatric history.
32-year-old Michael Schneider, an employee of the town of Weston, was arrested in early December on charges of workers’ compensation fraud. He was collecting benefits for an injury that made him unable to work. However, he was observed coaching youth hockey during that time.
Weston reported his injury in September of 2013 while he was working for the Weston Board of Education, and in that time has received $9,777.60 in benefits. If convicted, he could potentially face up to 20 years in prison.
Investigating workers’ comp fraud
My firm is regularly called upon to investigate worker’s compensation fraud in the private sector. Sometimes you find out the a person who is legitimately hurt, sometimes you find a guy who flies to Hawaii to play golf. We find out the truth of the matter.
There’s 10,000 agencies out there that do this kind of investigation. The majority of these people are not considered experts in workers’ comp court. Every investigator at Martin Investigative Services is considered an expert in court. When a quality investigation matters, you can call upon our former Federal agents with 50+ years experience in surveillance, or try your luck elsewhere.