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 - October 11, 2012
Disabled Rural Mail Carrier Was Fit Enough To Run Her Own Spa and Fitness Center and Give Massages (MD) - Darlene M. Altvater has been found guilty by a federal court jury on two counts of making false statements in order to obtain federal disability benefits. Altvater was employed by the U.S. Postal Service as a rural carrier, and after an on-the-job injury to her head and neck, she began receiving federal workers' compensation benefits. For six years, while she continued to receive workers' compensation benefits based on her disability, Altvater operated a salon, day spa and fitness center, performing physical acts such as demonstrating the use of the fitness equipment, performing pedicures, and giving massages. Read more
Trial Date Set For Owners of Historic Inn Charged With Fraud (CA) - The trial for Sanjiv Kakkar and Neelam Kakkar, the owners of the Brookdale Inn and Spa, which in its heyday hosted ceOebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, is scheduled for December 10. The Kakkars have been charged with five counts of insurance fraud. They are alleged to have underreported their payroll in order to lower their workers' compensation insurance premiums by $800,000. The Inn is currently closed because of building code and fire code violations. Read more
Daughter Lied About College To Get Death Benefits From Dad's Pension (WA) - Heather L. Payne has pled not guilty to charges of first-degree theft and forgery for fraudulently receiving pension benefits. When her father died in 2001, he was receiving a disability pension due to a workplace injury that had left him permanently disabled, and Payne was awarded survivor benefits because she was a minor. She was entitled to receive those benefits after age 18 if she was a full-time student, but in 2010 it was discovered that she forged a signature of an imaginary school official on her request to receive benefits and then faxed the request from a grocery store 275 miles away from the school that she was allegedly attending. Read more
Sentencing Date Continued For Roofing Company Owners Charged With Insurance Fraud (CA) - The sentencing date for John Applegate and Camille Applegate, the owners of Hallmark Roofing, Inc. who pled No Contest to insurance and workers' compensation fraud, has been continued at the request of defense counsel to October 24. The Applegate's were accused of failing to accurately report their employee wages to their workers' compensation insurance company, the State Compensation Insurance Fund. The California Department of Insurance conducted a forensic audit of the business, which revealed that by failing to report the business's employee wages accurately, Hallmark Roofing's owners avoided paying $629,391.10 in workers' compensation insurance. Read more
Video Surveillance Leads To 10 Years In Prison (ID) - Terry L. Melvin has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to insurance fraud. Melvin admitted that he made false statements that he was injured in order to obtain extended workman's compensation benefits. While receiving those benefits, he worked and received income from odd jobs, and he was videotaped walking, riding a bike, and climbing stairs with no apparent discomfort. Read more
Classroom Teaching Assistant Lied About Injury From Breaking Up Fight By Students (CA) - Gerard Padilla, an employee of the Los Angeles County Office of Education, has been arrested and charged with five felony counts of workers' compensation insurance fraud. While employed as a Para-Educator (teaching assistant) at the Antelope Valley Principle Administrative Unit, Padilla filed a fraudulent workers' compensation claim alleging that he injured his back while helping break up a physical altercation in a classroom. Read more
Surveillance Video Proves Landscaper Guilty of Workers' Compensation Fraud (OH) - Thomas Hofus has been ordered to pay $12,662.17 in restitution and serve three years of community control after pleading guilty to working as a landscaper and roofer while receiving workers' comp benefits. Surveillance video and witnesses proved that that Hofus was operating a curbing and landscaping business called World Class Curbing while he was receiving temporary total disability benefits for a prior workplace injury. Hofus operated as a sales person at home and garden shows, provided on-site estimates for customers, supervised employees at job sites, and participated in much of the physical work associated with landscaping and roofing. Read more
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