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 29, 2012
Labor Investigator Forfeits Gold Bars, Coins, Lexus, and Homes On Way To Federal Prison (NJ) - Joseph Rivera has been sentenced to 60 months in federal prison and ordered to forfeit eight gold bars, $120,400 in cash, two Ocean City, N.J., properties, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., property, a 2008 Lexus ES 350, and numerous gold and silver coins, as a result of his guilty plea to solicitation and acceptance of a bribe and tax evasion. Rivera was a senior investigator with the N.J. Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Division of Wage and Hour Compliance, where he inspected temporary labor firms to verify compliance with state wage and hour laws and with regulations regarding taxes and worker's compensation insurance coverage. In that job, he solicited and accepted bribes from 20 temporary labor firms. Read more
Former Postal Employee Minus His Cane Pleads Guilty To Fraud Charge (NY) - Paul Skalicky has pled guilty to engaging in fraud to collect federal employee workers' compensation benefits and has been placed on probation for five years. In 1999 Skalicky began collecting federal workers' compensation benefits for a sprained ankle, and in 2010 he told an agent with the Department of Labor that he remained disabled and that he required a cane to move about. Covert surveillance conducted by agents from the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General established that Skalicky did not use a cane or require the use of a cane to walk. Read more
Landscaper Ripped Off Navy For $400,000 in Disability Benefits (CA) - Leray Shurn has been indicted on sixteen counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, false statements to obtain federal employee's compensation, and false statements to a government agency, alleging that he unlawfully received approximately $400,000 in workers' compensation to which he was not entitled. Shurn claimed that back or knee injuries prevented him from working as a Navy civilian employee, and that he was not engaged in any employment or business enterprise. However, the indictment alleges that he was operating a landscaping business in which he personally performed landscaping work for numerous individuals, prepared written estimates and monthly bills, and collected payment for the landscaping services that he and his employees rendered. Read more
Tortilla Factory Owner Where Worker Died Arrested For Employment Violations (NY) - Erasmo Ponce, the owner of Tortilleria Chinantla, has been charged with several employment law violations, including violating the workers' compensation insurance requirements. Last year the factory was ordered closed for failing to have workers' compensation insurance after an employee was killed when he fell into a waist-high dough mixing machine. The factory was later reopened, but Ponce and his company have been cited for several violations. Read more
Construction Employee Sentenced to Six Months In Jail For Fraud (CA) - Robert James Christiansen has been sentenced to 180 days in the county jail and placed on probation for five years after his felony conviction for committing workers' compensation fraud. Christiansen claimed that he had been injured while working for Rodney Williams Construction. Due to his claim he was placed on total disability and began to receive workers' compensation benefits and medical treatment. A few months later, Christiansen was observed by insurance investigators to be performing work he claimed he was incapable of performing. Read more
Disability Claimant Caught On Video Scrapping Materials While Seeing Doctor For Workers' Comp Claim (OH) - David Jenkins has pled guilty to workers' compensation fraud and ordered to pay $7,000 in restitution in addition to five years of community control. Jenkins was caught on video working for a scrap materials processor while he was supposedly unable to work and recovering from a prior workplace injury. Investigators received a tip that Jenkins had been scrapping materials at a business while on temporary total disability. The surveillance video showed him scrapping for a three-month period, including scrapping on the same days that he was examined by his physician for his work-related injury. Read more
Slip and Fall Leads To Guilty Plea For Failure To Disclose Past Injuries (CA) - Yadder Espinosa has pled guilty to workers' compensation insurance fraud for receiving approximately $40,000 to which he was not entitled. Espinosa was employed at Collision 101 and filed a workers' compensation claim for a work-place injury that resulted from a slip and fall. Espinosa failed to disclose prior injuries to his medical providers that were relevant to treatment of his workers' compensation claim. Read more
Hauling Company Owners Charged in Workers' Compensation Fraud (LA) - Hardell Mack and his wife, Leslie Francois Mack, the owners of Mack & Mack Demolition and Hauling LLC, have been arrested for providing fraudulent documents indicating the company had workers' compensation insurance when it did not. They are accused of willful misrepresentation that they carried the required workers' compensation insurance for their company. Read more
Repeat Offenders Caught In Unlicensed Contractor Sting (CA) - State and local officials conducted a sting operation to catch unlicensed contractors. Nine contractors were caught, including three repeat violators: Joe Cabrera, Dimitry Kamar, and Benjamin Rivera. Cabrera, doing business as Professional Touch Painting, failed to appear in court after being caught in a previous sting in 2010. He was taken to jail on a $10,000 arrest warrant. In addition, a stop order was issued, along with a $1,500 citation for having an employee with him and no workers' compensation insurance. Read more
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