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Workers' Comp Fraud Blotter – October 31, 2013
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 Claimant Accused of Multi-Million Dollar Respiratory Scam Dies From Lung Failure (FL) – David Brownell, who was accused of a workers’ compensation fraud scheme that allegedly cost $2.7 million, has died from lung failure. Brownell’s workers’ compensation claim was filed in 1995 after he said that he had sustained breathing problems and was oxygen-dependent because of exposure to rats and rat feces at the Glades Correctional Institution. Investigators claimed to have video of Brownell playing guitar, attending a concert, driving a car, and smoking. His widow claims that the video evidence was unfairly edited, that most of the proceeds from his claim went to medical providers, that he was on the lung transplant list, and that he had made more than a dozen trips to the hospital in just the last four years. Read more
Husband and Wife Accused Of Ripping Off Both Their Employer and Insurer (NC) – Christopher Ingalls and Samantha Ingalls have been charged with two counts of embezzlement and one count each of insurance fraud, obtaining property by false pretense and conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense. Investigators allege that the husband and wife conspired to defraud their insurance company of workers' compensation benefits by inflating Christopher’s salary reports. He then collected workers’ compensation benefits while he continued to collect his salary. Due to evidence uncovered during the investigation of the workers' compensation case, investigators also accuse the Ingalls of embezzling nearly $33,000 from their place of employment by falsifying billable hour reports, making personal purchases on company credit cards and writing themselves fraudulent reimbursement checks. Read more
Defeated Mayor Arrested For Violating Stop Work Order (FL) – Former Springfield Mayor Robert Walker, who was defeated earlier this year, has been arrested on charges that he continued construction on a house in violation of a stop work order. A compliance officer found two employees of Walker working on a house under construction, and one of the workers was not covered by workers’ compensation insurance. The compliance officer issued a stop work order, but Walker allegedly violated it. Read more
Correctional Officer Accused Of Playing Softball After Falling Down Prison Stairs (CA) – Todd Phillips, a correctional officer at the Folsom prison, has been charged with workers’ compensation fraud. Phillips allegedly played in competitive softball tournaments while receiving workers’ compensation benefits for an injury that he sustained when he slipped on a prison stairwell. Read more
RN Mistakenly Proved She Earned $96,000 At Her Spa While She Was Disabled (CT) – Brenda Shuler has been charged with first-degree larceny, worker’s compensation fraud, and perjury for unlawfully collecting disability benefits from 2003 to 2010. Shuler claimed that she was unable to work as a nurse at the Regency House nursing home after she twisted her knee and back when a resident in a wheelchair struck her, and that after the injury, she was also unable to operate her Sistas Salon and Spa business. But at a workers’ compensation hearing, she mistakenly turned over a wage statement that revealed that she earned $96,000 running her business in one year while she was disabled. Read more
Restaurant Owner Pleads Guilty To Running Business Without Workers’ Compensation Coverage (OH) – Cheryl Brenner, the owner of the Cranberry Station restaurant, has been ordered to pay a fine and make restitution after pleading guilty to failing to maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation attempted to work with Brenner to bring her policy into compliance after it lapsed, but she failed to cooperate, and instead she continued operating the restaurant without coverage. Read more
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