Each week we'll be surveying what the media, state agencies, insurance companies, and others report in terms of workers' comp fraud. Just like a police blotter, our workers' comp fraud blotter lists recent arrests, charges, convictions and investigations.
Workers' Comp Fraud Blotter - March 15, 2012
Mechanic Covered With Grease Claimed He Was Unemployed and Unable to Work (PA) - David Kyle Good has been sentenced to jail after a jury convicted him on three charges of workers' compensation fraud. Good claimed that he was unable to work as a result of a back injury and collected disability benefits for over six years. Police set up surveillance at a car repair garage where Good was working, though, and found him working on cars and carrying propane cylinders and steel bumpers. When they arrested Good at the repair garage, his mechanics uniform was covered in grease. Read more
Totally Disabled Husband Cared For Six Kids While Wife Who Cared For Him Went to California (OH) - Robert Shriner and Jocelyn Burke have pled guilty to fraud for their roles in a scheme related to his workers' compensation claim, which stated that he was totally and permanently disabled. Shriner was placed on permanent total disability due to a workplace injury when he fell off a horse, and his wife was paid for services as his home-health aide six days a week. Burke insisted that Shiner needed 24-hour care, but investigators documented numerous occasions when Burke took trips out of state, leaving Shriner at home to care for himself and their six children. During the periods when she was gone, investigators observed Shriner engaged in several activities. These included driving, riding his motorized bike, working in the yard, fixing the windshield on his van, and carrying his children. Read more
Correctional Employee and Wife On Trial For Workers' Comp Fraud After Shooting at Sex-Swapping Club (CA) - Former state correctional employee John Alfonzo Smiley and his wife, Cynthia Ann Biasi-Smiley, are being tried for workers' compensation fraud based upon their claim that John Smiley was shot by a parolee and paralyzed from the waist down, and thus he was entitled to disability benefits. The prosecution claims that Smiley was only a corrections bus driver, so no parolee would have reason to shoot him, and that the shooting was not by a parolee, but by a man whose wife was engaging in sex with Smiley. Read more
Restaurant Owner Let Coverage Lapse for Eight Years and Then Paid With Bad Check (OH) - George Sofianos, dba Sofianos Enterprise Inc., has pled guilty to one count of failure to comply for operating his business without proper workers' compensation insurance coverage. Sofianos and his father, Sprios, operated Dimitri's Restaurant with lapsed workers' compensation coverage since 2003. When they finally agreed to obtain coverage, the payment was returned by the bank due to insufficient funds. Read more
Workers' Compensation Trial For Historic Inn Owner Continued Again (CA) - Sanjiv Kakkar, the owner of the Brookdale Inn and Spa, which in its heyday hosted celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, has had his trial for insurance fraud, failure to maintain workers' compensation insurance, and passing bad checks continued again. The prosecution requested the continuance because they are filing additional charges that accuse Kakkar of underreporting his payroll in order to lower his workers' compensation insurance premiums by $890,000. Read more
Disabled Claimant Hawked Newspapers at Grocery Store While Receiving Benefits (OH) - Eric Watson has pled guilty to workers' compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. Watson sold newspapers at a local Kroger Store in the Dayton area while on workers' compensation, working as an independent contractor selling the newspapers and subscriptions. Read more
Arena and Hockey Team Let Workers' Compensation Insurance Lapse (NY) - Elmira Downtown Arena LLC, which operates First Arena in Elmira, and M-Team, which operates the Elmira Jackals hockey team that play in the arena, have had lapses in their workers' compensation insurance coverage. Mostafa Afr, who owns the businesses, has also been sued by a bank for breach of contract on a line of credit. Read more
Former All-American Football Player Indicted on Drug and Worker's Compensation Fraud Charges (OH) - Van DeCree, a college All-American football player in the 1970's, has been charged with possession of crack cocaine, using deception to obtain Vicodin, and falsifying documents related to a workers' compensation claim. DeCree was stopped by police because he was driving at night without his headlights on. Read more
Drywall Company Improperly Classified Employees As Independent Contractors (MA) - Tri State Drywall Systems, LLC and its owner, Ivelisse Soto, have been cited for violating the Massachusetts prevailing wage law and the obligation to maintain proper payroll records. The company improperly classified all its workers as independent contractors and paid the workers with company checks. Tri State has been ordered to pay to pay $478,602.25 in restitution and $450,000 in penalties for these violations. Read more
Chef Triple-Dipped in the Kitchen (OH) - Kevin Corn has pled guilty to theft for collecting paychecks from two employers while he was receiving workers' compensation benefits. Two employers reported earnings for Corn as a chef while he received disability benefits. He was originally injured working as a chef, and he acknowledged that he knew he was not permitted to work while concurrently receiving disability benefits. Read more
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