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 - December 22, 2011
Disabled Naval Officer Who Ran the New York City Marathon Stole From the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (D.C.) - Charles E. Coughlin, a retired naval officer, has been sentenced to 41 months in prison for filing a false claim with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and stealing approximately $151,000 from the government. The government's evidence at trial established that Coughlin had not taken leave from work to attend medical appointments as represented to the compensation fund. In fact, the evidence showed that Coughlin had not sought medical treatment for his neck condition for more than two years prior to the hearing. The events of September 11th may have aggravated this pre-existing condition, but the medical evidence established that Coughlin's physical symptoms decreased after he opted for conservative treatment. Yet, Coughlin falsely represented to the compensation fund that he was in constant pain and could not perform simple household chores, such as hanging items on the wall, mulching, cleaning gutters, washing windows, and putting up Christmas lights. In fact, the government presented evidence that Coughlin ran the New York City Marathon in November 2001 in three hours and 43 minutes, and that he continued to play lacrosse and basketball. The government's evidence showed that 74% of the check carbons Coughlin presented to the compensation fund were not for payment of replacement services. Most were altered or fabricated to make it appear that others had performed these household chores. Read more
Tow Truck Driver Must Make Restitution For Double-Dipping (OH) - Michael Roe has been ordered to pay restitution of $5,163.91, and another $2,000 for investigative costs, and placed on community control for two years, after pleading guilty to a felony count of workers' compensation fraud for working while receiving temporary total disability benefits. Investigators found Roe was working as a part-time tow truck driver for Lightening Towing and Recovery. Read more
Security Guard Sentenced on Workers' Comp Fraud Charges (TX) - Richard Merriman has been sentenced on workers' compensation fraud-related charges to two years' deferred adjudication and ordered to pay $3,197 in restitution to Texas Mutual Insurance Company. Merriman reported a job-related injury while working as a security guard for HVP Private Security, Inc. in San Antonio. He claimed he was unable to work as a result of the injury, but an investigation determined that Merriman had lied on the benefits application forms regarding his employment status. Read more
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