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 - November 22, 2012
Mechanic Advertised His Repair Services On Craigslist While Receiving Disability Benefits (OH) - James Palmer has been ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $5,225.06 after pleading guilty to one misdemeanor count of workers' compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. Palmer posted his mechanic services on Craigslist while receiving disability, and he was found to be working as a mechanic independently and for a local repair shop, working for cash under the table while collecting disability benefits. Read more
Injured Employee Worked Construction and Remodeling While Disabled - Now Owes $25,332.92 (OH) - Thomas Piatt III has entered a guilty plea to a felony count of illegally collecting workers' compensation benefits and has been ordered to pay restitution of $25,332.92. Piatt was receiving workers' compensation benefits following a workplace injury, but an audit and investigation revealed that he received wages from a local real estate development company for construction and remodeling work while he was receiving his temporary total disability benefits. Read more
Government Millwright Who Double-Dipped In St. Lawrence Seaway Sentenced To Probation and Community Service (NY) - Thomas Schneller, who pled guilty in federal court to lying about his work status in order to fraudulently collect federal worker's compensation benefits, has been placed on probation and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. While Schneller was collecting disability benefits from his work with the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., he made false statements that he was not self-employed, but he was actually operating his own company, AKJ Marine, a marine contracting company that did work also on the St. Lawrence River. Read more
Woman Sold Her Prescription Meds To Her Neighbor (OH) - Tina Schulte has pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of workers' compensation fraud and two felony counts of deception to obtain a dangerous drug. Schulte was receiving workers' compensation paid narcotics for a temporary total disability claim following a workplace injury, and she was selling 30 to 60 pills a month to her neighbor for $1 to $3 a pill. Read more
Employer Ordered To Pay $75,000 In Restitution For Underreporting Payroll and Misclassifying Employees (NJ) - Techdan, LLC has been ordered to pay $75,000 in restitution to Liberty Mutual Insurance Company as a result of its guilty plea to second-degree theft by deception. Techdan admitted that for over three years it gave the false impression to Liberty Mutual Insurance Company that it was entitled to lower workers' compensation premiums. Techdan underreported the number of its employees, misclassified its employees' occupational classes, and underreported the total employee payroll amounts to evade paying the full payment for its workers' compensation insurance. Read more
Employee Changed a Five To an Eight on Doctor's Slip To Get Three More Days Off Work (OH) - A rehabilitation supervisor reported that Tammy Tschuor submitted an altered doctor's slip resulting in the receipt of three days of benefits she was not entitled to receive. Tschuor altered the return to work slip to show that she was to return to work on October 8 instead of October 5. Six receptionists at the doctor's office indicated that they had not made the change to the original return to work slip. Read more
Promoter of Native American Tribal Insurance Coverage Charged With Misappropriation Of Funds (CA) - Gregory J. Chmielewski, who set up a professional employer organization called Independent Management Resources, has been charged under a sealed indictment with mail fraud and money laundering. Chmielewski solicited Indian tribes to partner with him and provide employee insurance coverage and other employee services at a reduced cost, using the tribes' sovereign-nation status. He then marketed the Tribal insurance coverage to California employers with high workers' compensation liabilities, claiming that it provided significant savings over traditional workers' compensation coverage. After acquiring clients, he is accused of diverting and misappropriating millions of dollars for his personal use. Read more
Theft of Co-Worker's Pain Medication Leads To Workers' Compensation Fraud Conviction (OH) - Brian Woodruff has pled guilty to workers' compensation fraud for filing a false claim after he was accused by his employer of stealing a co-worker's narcotic pain medication. Woodruff claimed that he had a work related injury and had obtained a narcotic prescription from a hospital in an attempt to show his employer that he had his own prescription and did not need to steal his co-worker's medication. Read more
Drywall Firm Fined For Underreporting and Prime Contractor Foots the Bill (WA) - Maranatha Construction and its sister company, Maranatha Drywall, have been assessed more than $426,000 in unpaid workers' compensation premiums and penalties. Maranatha Construction failed to report drywall square footage for a large construction project, while Crown Drywall Estimating, operating as Maranatha Drywall and owned by a relative of the owner of Maranatha Construction, failed to provide records for an audit. These firms have since stopped doing business in Washington, and one prime contractor, Walsh Construction, was held liable for more than $82,000 of Maranatha's premiums. Read more
Roofer Double-Dips As a Carpenter While Receiving Temporary Disability Benefits (OH) - Anibal Rivera lll has pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of workers' compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. Rivera was found to be working as a roofer and carpenter with Mihajlovich General Contracting and Sabo Construction Company while receiving temporary total disability. Read more
Owner Of Livery Company Misclassified His Drivers As Subcontractors (OH) - Ibe Nnaji, dba Toledo Livery Service, has pled guilty to disorderly contact for misclassifying his employees. Nnaji began reporting his employees as subcontractors after reporting them as employees for several years. His workers' compensation policy lapsed, and although he was placed on notice that he was improperly reporting his drivers as subcontractors, he failed to properly classify them as employees and failed to obtain workers' compensation insurance for them. Read more
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