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 - June 14, 2012
NASCAR Sprint Cup Team Fined For Failing To Maintain Workers' Compensation Insurance (NC) - Randy Humphrey and Phil Parsons, the younger brother of the late Winston Cup champion and television broadcaster Benny Parsons, have been fined by the North Carolina Industrial Commission for failing to provide workers' compensation insurance during most of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. An employee of HP Racing, owned by Humphrey and Parsons in 2011, was injured on the job while they were uninsured. They have been ordered to pay the medical bills and wages of the employee who has been unable to work since his accident. Read more
Eighteen People Indicted For Menu Of Crimes At Pancake Houses (OH) - Eighteen people have indicted for their roles in a series of criminal schemes, including money laundering, identity theft, alien harboring, and arson, centered around seven IHOP restaurants in northwest Ohio and Indiana that resulted in losses of more than $3 million. Among those indicted are Tarek "Terry" Elkafrawi, who, from December 2003 through the present, owned the seven IHOP restaurants. Elkafrawi, along with Autumn Lee Tangas and others, used their control of the restaurants to execute various criminal activities to fraudulently manipulate sales figures, salaries, and payrolls to evade taxes, avoid paying royalties, and illegally divert money from the IHOP franchises to themselves, according to the 64-count indictment. Elkafrawi also arranged for managers to cash payroll checks for the illegal workers. Elkafrawi and others assigned second identities to workers to avoid paying overtime wages and reduce the restaurants' payments to the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation. They were also able to underpay the undocumented workers because they knew the workers would not complain or report them to law enforcement, according to the indictment. Read more
Video Surveillance Catches Former CHP Officer Making False Statements (CA) - Former California Highway Patrol Officer (CHP) Brian Christopher Hansen has been charged with felony workers' compensation insurance fraud and attempted perjury charges. Hansen is accused of making numerous false statements to various doctors, investigators, and in a sworn deposition regarding the extent of his physical disabilities caused by an on-duty injury to his back. Hansen stated that due to pain from his back injury, he was only able to drive for very short periods of time, he could not sit for more than 30 minutes, he could not pick up items weighing more than 10 pounds, and was so restricted in his physical abilities that he could not even perform limited office duties. But videotaped surveillances showed Hansen driving for hours at a time, moving furniture when he changed residences, bending over and picking up items weighing over 30 pounds, and engaging in everyday activities with no signs of any physical limitations. Read more
Legal Secretary With Public Defender Charged With Workers' Compensation Fraud (LA) - Charmaine T. Arrington has been arrested on charges of knowingly submitting false information about a job injury. Arrington, a legal secretary with the 22nd Judicial District Public Defender's Office, is accused of not suffering a job-related injury, and in fact, had notified a co-worker in advance of her plans to fake a job injury. As a result of her fraudulent claim, her employer incurred expenses of more than $19,000, including medical payments, investigative and legal fees. If convicted, Arrington faces up to 10 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both. Read more
Former Attorney For School District Charged With Racketeering and Bribery (OH) - Anthony O. Calabrese III, the former attorney for the Parma School District, has been charged by federal prosecutors with facilitating bribes and kickbacks between two companies, a workers' compensation management company and an insurance broker, and the former president of the school board, J. Kevin Kelley. Kelley has pled guilty to numerous corruption related charges and is expected to testify in Calabrese's trial. Read more
Preliminary Hearing Set For Owners of Historic Inn Charged With Fraud (CA) - The preliminary hearing for Sanjiv Kakkar and Neelam Kakkar, the owners of the Brookdale Inn and Spa, which in its heyday hosted celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, are now scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing in the often continued case against them on charges of insurance fraud, failure to maintain workers' compensation insurance, and passing bad checks. They are accused of underreporting their payroll in order to lower their workers' compensation insurance premiums by $890,000. Read more
Tortilla Factory Owner Where Worker Died Pleads Guilty To Employment Violations (NY) - Erasmo Ponce, the owner of Tortilleria Chinantla, has pled guilty to underpaying staffers, falsifying records and violating worker's compensation laws. Last year the factory was ordered closed for failing to have workers' compensation insurance after an employee was killed when he was crushed in a waist-high dough mixing machine. Read more
Burger King Employee Used Whiteout To Extend Her Time Off Work (CA) - Corrina Montenegro has been charged with three felony counts of workers' compensation insurance fraud and one felony count of perjury in connection with an alleged work injury she sustained as an employee of a Burger King Franchise. Montenegro claimed to have slipped and injured her knee while carrying boxes at work. It is alleged that Montenegro used whiteout to alter the disability slip and fall incident to extend the period of her temporary total disability. Read more
Laborer Charged With Making False Statements (LA) - Andree T. Williams has been charged with making false statements to his insurer in order to get workers compensation benefits. The amount of loss in the case is estimated at $3,500. If convicted, Williams faces a maximum of five years in prison, a fine of $5,000, or both. Williams is among nine businesses and individuals who have been charged this year with workers' compensation fraud by the Louisiana Workforce Commission and the Louisiana Attorney General's Office. Read more
Former Paralegal With Secretary Of State Charged With Workers' Compensation Fraud and Forgery (CT) - Mary Beth Anderson has been charged with submitting forged documents in connection with claims she filed for workers' compensation benefits while she was employed as a paralegal for the Connecticut Secretary of the State. She is accused of submitting nine forged documents in connection with work injuries. Anderson has been placed on administrative leave at her current job with the Freedom of Information Commission in the Office of Governmental Accountability. Read more
Jack In The Box Employee Charged With Double Dipping (CA) - Emmanuel de Paz has been arrested on three felony counts of insurance fraud and two felony counts of attempted perjury in connection with an alleged work injury. He is accused of working for a Jack in the Box restaurant while collecting benefits for an injury he reported to have incurred while serving as an employee of the El Gallo Giro Corporation. He had filed for worker's compensation benefits for injuries to multiple body parts as well as a psychiatric claim. Read more
Construction Company Owner Charged With Fraud (LA) - As part of an effort by the Louisiana Workforce Commission and law enforcement agencies to fight workers' compensation fraud in the New Orleans metro area, Scott W. Tillman, who owns a carpentry/construction firm, has been charged with making false statements to his workers' compensation insurer in an effort to save $56,000 in policy premiums. If convicted, Tillman faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250 for each day he was in violation of the law. Read more
Not Guilty Pleas Entered In Fraud Case (CA) - John Brent Arakelian and Maria Cecilia Rios Cabangangan have pled not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and insurance fraud against the workers' compensation insurance system. They are accused of conspiring to commit a crime, presenting multiple claims for payment with intent to defraud, and presenting false documentation for compensation. Read more
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