Workers' Comp Fraud Blotter (2/23/2012) – New Orleans Attorney Decides to Punt, Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Pro Football and Hockey Clients

Workers' Comp Fraud Blotter (2/23/2012) – New Orleans Attorney Decides to Punt, Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Pro Football and Hockey Clients

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 - February 23, 2012

New Orleans Attorney Decides to Punt, Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Pro Football and Hockey Clients (LA) - Attorney Robert Hackett has pled guilty to mail fraud for defrauding four professional athletes of more than $462,000 in workers' compensation settlements. Hackett, who practiced law in New Orleans until he was disbarred in 2010, forged his clients' signatures on workers' compensation insurance checks and deposited the insurance payments into his own bank account without his clients' knowledge. When he was disbarred, it was disclosed that he cheated former New Orleans Saints lineman Jim Dombrowski out of a $155,642 workers' compensation settlement. Dombrowski, a former unanimous First Team All-American at the University of Virginia and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, was chosen in the first-round of the 1986 NFL Draft and played 11 years for the Saints.   Read more

Claimant Caught Working At Convenience Store While Receiving Disability For Injury At Same Store (OH) - Victoria Hall has been sentenced to probation on a felony count of workers' compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. Investigators obtained undercover surveillance video showing that while receiving temporary total disability benefits, she was working at the same convenience store where she had been previously injured, which was now under a different name and owner.   Read more

Transportation Security Agency (TSA) Supervisor Guilty in Disability Fraud Scheme (TX) - Bert Carrol Rainey, a TSA supervisor at Houston Hobby airport, has pled guilty to an information charging him with fraud to obtain workers compensation benefits. Rainey was declared totally disabled from a work related accident, but an investigation revealed that Rainey had the ability to perform his tasks at work and that he had misled several physicians who examined him on a routine basis to evaluate his ability to return to work.  Rainey admitted misleading physicians that he could not sit or walk for more than thirty minutes or lift more than ten pounds. Surveillance of Rainey at his home revealed him engaging in numerous physical activities inconsistent with his medical evaluations, including doing home construction projects, lawn maintenance, and operating machinery for long periods of time.   Read more

Employee Was Injured At Home Before First Day At Work (OH) - Mitchell Oakley has pled guilty to one count of workers' compensation fraud for filing a false claim. Oakley filed a claim indicating he was injured on his first day of work for an employer; however, he was actually injured moving boxes at home prior to his employment.   Read more

Store Camera Right On Target and Catches Employee Staging Phony Work Accident (NJ) - Victoria Colon, who worked in the customer service department at Target, has been indicted on allegations that she staged a workplace injury at the store in order to try to collect workers' compensation benefits. A camera at the store showed her causing boxes to fall on her, hitting herself in the head with some batteries, and drinking a beverage and some Goldfish snack crackers so that she could vomit at the scene.   Read more

Veterinary Assistant Sentenced To Probation For Fraud For Double-Dipping (OH) - As a result of her plea of guilty to workers' compensation fraud, Nancy Palmer has been sentenced to a suspended prison sentence of seven months, suspended for eighteen months of community control, and ordered to pay $7,457.72 in restitution and $1,000 for investigative costs. While she was receiving temporary total disability benefits, Palmer had secretly returned to work at a veterinary hospital, assisting during surgeries and cleaning and taking care of animals, and also working as a telephone solicitor for a local charity.   Read more

New York State Insurance Fund Receives First Installment on $2.5M Restitution (NY) - The NYSIF has received $500,000 as the first installment of restitution from a former policyholder charged with fraud for providing false business documents to NYSIF premium auditors. The payment is part of a plea agreement signed by Owen O'Reilly, who was a partner in MC & O Masonry, a concrete business that had workers' compensation insurance with NYSIF. O'Reilly provided false documentation to his accountant, resulting in NYSIF auditors receiving fraudulent tax returns for the former policyholder.   Read more

Disc Jockey Avoids Chance To Play Some Tunes In Prison (OH) - Randall Schornack has been ordered to make $27,202.62 in restitution and sentenced to a suspended prison sentence of 18 months in prison on a felony count of workers' compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. Investigators received an anonymous tip that Schornack was working as a disc jockey at several bars under the name "DJ Randy Stevens" and also for a professional DJ service while also receiving temporary total disability benefits. Investigators caught him on video unloading and carrying speakers and other equipment from his vehicle into different establishments on a weekly basis and performing work services as a DJ.   Read more

Injured Wrist Leads To Arrest On Charges Of Workers' Compensation Claim Fraud and Grand Theft (FL) - Jovan Bokun has been charged with workers' compensation fraud and grand theft after an investigation revealed that he submitted false insurance claim information regarding his physical capabilities, allowing him to allegedly collect over $34,000 in fraudulent workers' compensation benefits. Bokun injured his left wrist while working as a general laborer, and his employer, Parker Hannifin Corporation, filed a workers' compensation claim with its insurer.  Bokun misrepresented the extent of his injury and was subsequently captured on surveillance video using his injured hand to lift heavy objects.   Read more

Disabled Employee Was Able to Work at Transmission Repair Shop and On His Own Cars In His Driveway (OH) - Jose Ramirez has pled guilty to workers' compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. While receiving temporary total disability benefits, Ramirez was found to be working for a transmission repair service, sweeping the floors, cleaning the shop, delivering parts to customers, picking up parts from suppliers, supervising/assisting other mechanics with repairs, and driving business tow trucks to pick up vehicles. He was also found to be physically able to work on his own cars in his driveway.   Read more

Son Pleads Guilty To Stealing Workers' Compensation Checks of Dearly Departed Mom (NM) - Michael T. Merkel has pled guilty to theft of government property under a plea agreement where he will be sentenced to probation and pay $43,433.88 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Labor's Division of Federal Employees' Compensation, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs. Merkel converted to his own use workers' compensation benefits intended for his deceased mother.   Read more

Bagel Shop Owner Kept Spreading The Cream Cheese Without Coverage For Her Employees (OH) - Nancy Madewell, who operated Bagel Cafe Inc., has pled guilty to three counts of failure to comply for operating her business without workers' compensation coverage. Numerous attempts were made to bring Madewell into compliance, but she continued to operate without proper workers' compensation coverage and even failed to appear for trial. After a warrant was issued, she finally reported to court and entered her plea.   Read more

Owner of Employment Agency Concealed Payroll To Reduce Insurance Premiums (TX) - Ronald Rene Hernandez has been sentenced to probation, community service, and ordered to pay Texas Mutual Insurance Company $250,000 on workers' compensation fraud-related charges. Hernandez operated A & R Interests, Inc., a temporary labor company that specialized in construction site clean-up. Hernandez intentionally gave Texas Mutual false information about his workforce and business relationships in his applications for insurance coverage and provided incomplete payroll records.   Read more

Chef Was Able To Keep On Cooking While Disabled (OH) - Jean-Michel Matos has been ordered to make restitution and placed on probation after pleading guilty to workers' compensation theft. While receiving temporary total disability benefits, Matos was found in an undercover investigation to be working as a chef at an event, and it was learned that he had worked at nine other events as well, in violation of the rules associated with receiving temporary total disability benefits.   Read more

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