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 28, 2012
Comment By Dad Leads To Painter's Conviction For Double Dipping (ME) - Jeremy Laurendeau has pled guilty to theft by deception for working while also receiving workers' compensation wage replacement benefits. Laurendeau dislocated his shoulder while working for A Team Painting and reported for a year that he was not working at any other job. But his father mentioned to the company's owner that Laurendeau was "doing some stuff", and a subsequent investigation revealed that Laurendeau had been working odd jobs at a large estate where he earned thousands of dollars for his work. Read more
Housing Director and Agency Receptionist Charged With Fraud (OH) - Anna Schnippel, the executive director of the Allen Metropolitan Housing Authority, has been charged with knowingly approving a fraudulent workers' compensation claim by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation and placed on administrative leave by her governing board. She approved the claim by the agency's receptionist, Cheryl Lawson, who said she was injured during a police raid of the agency concerning the shredding of agency documents. Lawson has been charged with falsification relating to the filing of her claim and workers' compensation fraud for giving false information during the investigation of her claim. Read more
He Could Not Deliver the Mail But Could Fix Your Roof (NY) - Thomas Dombroski, a former letter carrier with the U.S. Post Office, has pled guilty to making false statements and representations to obtain federal workers compensation benefits, admitting that he falsely represented that he was not employed, self-employed, or involved in any business enterprise while collecting federal workers compensation benefits for an injury that prevented him from using his right arm. Dombroski was videotaped installing roofs, carrying building materials, repairing gutters, loading and carrying logs and firewood, carrying cement cinder blocks, and lifting a 55-pound air compressor for his home repair company, Picture Perfect Contractors. Read more
Owner of Lawn Service Business Alleged To Have Not Maintained Insurance (PA) - Terry Cottage has been charged with 92 counts of intentionally failing to provide workers' compensation insurance for his lawn care business over a three month period. Read more
Detective Who Once Punched a Fan Now Hit With Perjury For Lying About Assault On Himself (MD) - Anthony N. Fata, a homicide detective for the Baltimore Police Department, has been charged with perjury, misconduct, and worker's compensation fraud. Fata claimed to have been attacked and shot by an unknown assailant, which became the basis for a workers' compensation claim that he filed. Fata is accused of making up the shooting in order to obtain worker's compensation benefits. Ten years ago, Fata was caught on videotape punching a rowdy Preakness fan. Read more
Six Seafood Workers Charged With Fraud and May Be Deported (FL) - Huertos Paez, Andres Francisco Diego, Victor Diego Gaspar, Aurora Leon Gordillo, Elvina Perez, and Marisol Reyes have been charged with workers' compensation fraud. All of the men formerly worked at Leavins Seafood, but were part of group of 41 employees who were fired after an investigation found inaccurate information on the I-9 immigration employment eligibility verification forms of the 41 employees. A company attorney said that convictions on the fraud charges could lead to deportation. Read more
Transportation Security Agency Supervisor Sentenced in Disability Fraud Scheme (TX) - Bert Carrol Rainey, a former TSA supervisor at Houston Hobby airport, has been sentenced by a federal court to three years' probation and ordered to pay restitution of $36,120 as a result of his plea earlier this year to 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. 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
Landlord Convicted of Working Construction Job While Disabled (WA) - Michael Cox has been convicted by a jury on two counts of theft for fraudulently claiming nearly $40,000 in workers' compensation benefits. Cox had filed a workers' compensation claim and was receiving wage replacement benefits based upon his claims that he could not work. But a tip that he was not injured led to an investigation and videotape of Cox working on the construction of a house near a rental home he owned, showing that he was capable of working and did not have the physical limitations he had claimed. Read more
Department of Energy Says Nuclear Agency Mismanaged Workers' Compensation (D.C.) - The U.S. Department of Energy has accused the National Nuclear Security Administration and several of its laboratory sites of mismanaging their disability and workers' compensation programs, driving up the programs' costs. The sites allowed workers to supplement their pay with sick leave or paid salary continuation equaling their usual income. Since the workers' compensation payments weren't subject to federal payroll and income taxes, the DOE said the practice became an incentive for affected workers to stay on disability leave. Read more
Employee's Death Leads To Arrest Of Construction Firm Owners For Workers' Compensation Insurance Fraud (CA) - Allan Pacheco and his wife, Carolina Pacheco, the owners of A & F Engineering, have been arrested on felony charges related to their failure to pay the correct amount workers' compensation insurance premiums. The company was performing a city contract for street repairs when one of its employees was run over by a company truck and killed. The subsequent death claim by the employee's family was denied because the insurer rescinded the policy after finding that the owners had lied about the true nature of their business in order to lower their insurance premiums. Read more
Hotel Worker Pleads Guilty To Theft After His Workers' Compensation Scam Is Uncovered (OH) - Robert Howland has been sentenced to 5 years of probation and ordered to pay $5,928.43 in restitution after his guilty plea to workers' compensation fraud. While Howland was collecting living maintenance benefits and in a rehabilitation program for a work injury, he was secretly performing kitchen duties at the Robinson Country Inn/Hotel. Read more
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