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 6, 2011
New Orleans Attorney Indicted For Defrauding Athlete Clients (LA) - Attorney Robert Hackett has been charged in a one count indictment by a federal grand jury with mail fraud. Hackett was an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Louisiana, and as a part of his law practice, he represented professional athletes in their workers' compensation claims. Hackett defrauded his clients out of approximately $462,615.03 by forging his clients' signatures on workers' compensation insurance checks and depositing the insurance payments into his own bank account without his clients' knowledge. Read more
Husband and Wife Both Liable For Federal Tax Penalties For Underreported Income Resulting From Workers' Comp Insurance Fraud (MI) - Charles Garavaglia and his wife, Mary Ann Garavaglia, have been found jointly and severally liable by the United States Tax Court for income tax fraud penalties, and Mary Ann has been denied innocent spouse relief. Charles owned three employee leasing companies, which were employment staffing companies that provided employees to client businesses. The companies underreported their payroll in order to reduce their workers' compensation insurance premiums, but for tax purposes they reported the insurance premiums that should have been paid, thus unlawfully reducing their federal income tax liability. Read more
State Agencies Conduct Raid and Audit Of Pain Center (OH) - Eight agents from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation and the Ohio Attorney General's Office, armed with a search warrant, conducted a raid on the Back and Pain Rehab Center. The officials were seeking evidence regarding possible billing irregularities that had been detected through fraud prevention efforts. Read more
Accountant Placed On Probation For Falsifying Payroll Records For Murdered Taxi Driver's Family of (NY) - Vincent Kukys has been placed on five years probation after pleading guilty to offering a false instrument for filing and workers' compensation fraud. Kukys falsified the payroll records of a taxi cab driver who was killed in a robbery so that it would appear that the driver was working for a company covered by workers' compensation insurance. The driver worked for a company that did not have coverage, and Kukys, after the murder, showed the driver as having worked for another company with coverage that was owned by the same businessman so that the driver's family could collect death benefits. Read more
Roofer Sentenced For Operating His Company While Receiving Disability Benefits (OH) - George Seiber has been sentenced to 12 months of suspended incarceration, five years of community control, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $24,883.88, including $1,000 for investigative costs. Seiber had pled guilty to working while receiving temporary total disability benefits. He owned and operated Roofer Inc.com and performed work activities including contacting customers, appraising roofs, preparing proposals, supervising staff, and handling money transactions. Read more
Police Officers Charged With Workers' Compensation Fraud After Working With Kids (HI) - Honolulu police officers Sgt. Mitchell Tojio and Officer Jim Yasue have been charged with tampering with a government record. The officers were assigned to work with youngsters through the Police Activities League, and Tojio filed a workers' compensation claim, stating that he was injured when he tried to jump onto a piece of exercise equipment. Internal Affairs later conducted an investigation after receiving an anonymous letter stating that the claim was false because the exercise equipment was not usable that day and Tojio hurt himself when he tried to jump onto a table. Read more
Workers' Compensation Charge Filed (FL) - Douglas Staugaitis has been charged with making a false claim for workers compensation. Read more
Slip and Fall Victim Charged With Workers' Compensation Fraud (CA) - Carlos Tehran Bernal has been arrested for workers' compensation insurance fraud, perjury, providing false government documents to conceal true citizenship, and identity theft. Bernal reportedly sustained an industrial injury when he slipped and fell while working, and he was ultimately provided benefits from his employer's workers' compensation insurance. Evidence was uncovered during an investigation that supported the allegations of fraud and the other violations. Read more
Equipment Operator Goes To Jail For Double-Dipping (TX) - Clifford K. Franklin has been convicted on workers' compensation fraud-related charges and sentenced to 180 days in jail and ordered to pay court costs. Franklin reported a job-related injury while working as an equipment operator for Odin Demolition and Asset Recovery, Inc. He claimed that he was unable to work as a result of the injury, and Texas Mutual Insurance began paying income benefits to him. Meanwhile, Texas Mutual uncovered evidence that Franklin was working as an equipment operator for another employer while receiving income benefits. Read more
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