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 - July 7, 2011
Pill Mill Doctor Sentenced for Improper Prescribing and Billing Fraud (OH) - Dr. Jean Zannoni has been sentenced to two years probation after pleading guilty to theft, attempted workers' compensation fraud and telecommunications fraud. Two undercover agents were provided narcotic medications without proper medical examinations and the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation was improperly billed for the office visits. Read more
Faked Doctors' Notes Leads to Probation and Restitution for Cop (CA) - Los Angeles police officer Robert Yanez has pled no contest to a single charge of workers' compensation charge arising from his trying to use fake doctors' slips to avoid work. After his original doctor found that Yanez could return to work from a work-related injury, Yanez began doctor-shopping and submitting forged and altered reports from the doctors to remain off work. Read more
Elderly Woman and Son Guilty of Elder Abuse At Elder Care Facility (CA) - Mila Labayen, who is 75 years old herself and the owner of the defunct Liberty Care Homes III, a home-based elder care facility, has pled guilty to covering up elder abuse and failing to carry workers' compensation insurance. Her son, Steve Perez Lopez, has pled guilty to felony financial elder abuse and misdemeanor physical elder abuse, for burns suffered by a 72 year old resident and money stolen from an 82 year old resident. Read more
Restaurant Owes For Failing To Carry Workers' Compensation Insurance (ID) - A default judgment in a civil action has been awarded to the Idaho Industrial Commission. Lago Azul Mexican Restaurant and Sandra Elizabeth Castillo now owe $5,300 for failing to provide workers' compensation insurance for employees. Read more
Former Civilian Navy Employee Sentenced For Stealing More Than $300,000 In Worker's Compensation Benefits (CA) - Michael Howell, a former civilian employee of the Department of the Navy, has sentenced to 18 months in prison for making a false statement to obtain federal worker's compensation benefits. Over a nine year period, Howell defrauded the Department of the Navy by falsely denying that he had outside employment and income in order to receive worker's compensation benefits. Howell performed work while collecting benefits that was inconsistent with his claimed disabilities. Read more
Contractor Pleads Guilty To False Workers' Compensation Claim (CA) - Jose Cruz has pled guilty to making a false or fraudulent statement for the purpose of obtaining workers' compensation benefits and contracting without a license. Cruz installed a concrete driveway at a home without a contractor's license and did not have workers' compensation insurance for his employees who were also on site. It was then discovered that he was also receiving temporary disability benefits at the same time for an injury that he sustained while working as a hotel chef. Read more
Neurologist Pleads Guilty in Health Care Fraud Scheme (NY) - Dr. Leonard Langman, a neurologist who owned and operated a Brooklyn medical clinic, has pled guilty for his role in a scheme to defraud Medicare, the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, the New York State Workers' Compensation Board, the New York State Insurance Fund, and various private health insurance carriers. Dr. Langman submitted claims for services that were not provided, misrepresented the services he provided by billing for a level of service higher than that which he performed, double-billed different health care benefit programs for the same service provided to the same beneficiary, and billed for services purportedly performed when he was out of the country. Read more
Truck Drivers Claim That They Are Employees and Not Independent Contractors (NJ) - Ironbound Express Inc. has been sued in a New Jersey court by truck drivers who claim that they have been misclassified as independent contractors in an effort to prevent them from engaging in collective bargaining. The lawsuit also claims that Ironbound has violated New Jersey law by deducting worker's compensation insurance from their pay. Ironbound says that the drivers are not employees and that the workers' compensation deductions comply with federal law. Read more
Unlicensed Movers Nabbed in New Jersey "Operation Mother's Attic" Sting (NJ) - The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs is charging 25 unlicensed moving companies, and assessing fines of up to $2,500 each, as part of an undercover initiative targeting unlicensed and uninsured moving companies. Investigators posed as consumers who needed to move personal items out of storage and into a house, and they booked appointments with unlicensed movers who advertised on Craigslist or other websites. Movers are required to be licensed and maintain cargo liability insurance, workers' compensation insurance, and bodily injury and property damage insurance. Read more
Contractors State License Board and Partners Sting 15 For Contracting Without Licenses (CA) - State and local investigators posed as owners of a home and a business and sought bids from suspected unlicensed operators for painting, concrete, drywall, cabinet installation, and flooring. Those who bid more than the legal threshold of $500 for labor and materials received notices to appear in court for violating California contracting laws. Some of the suspects will also face charges for failure to carry workers' compensation insurance, soliciting an excessive down payment, and illegal advertising. Read more
Non-English Speaking Laborer Claims That Woman Is Stealing His Workers' Compensation Checks (TX) - Marcelo Rangel, an injured laborer who does not speak English, has sued Claudia Zamarripa for fraud, theft and breach of fiduciary duty. Rangel claims that he asked Zamarripa to help him with his workers' compensation claim after he was injured in 2008 while working for a concrete company. He alleges that she told him that he could only keep one weekly check a month and that she has been keeping the other three checks each month for herself. Read more
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