Caught in the Act

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A picture is worth a thousand words and in the case of one California fraudster, one word – ”guilty.” According to an article in the Daily Press, video surveillance led to the conviction of an out-of-work woman who tried to collect workers’ compensation benefits for an injury that had healed.

The article states that the 56-year-old woman had not been working due to a sprained ankle she had sustained in 2009. She filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and received medical treatment for the injury; however, she stated that there was little to no improvement. Unfortunately, for the supposedly wounded woman, video surveillance conducted by the San Bernardino County Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fraud Unit suggested otherwise.

Investigators captured images of the woman going about her business without needing the assistance of any medical devices. More footage showed her visiting her doctor’s office wearing an ankle brace, carrying a cane and being pushed in a wheelchair by her boyfriend. Thirty minutes later, she was seen walking into a local restaurant on her own, accompanied by her boyfriend. (Wow, what a great doctor!)

The woman entered into a plea bargain and was sentenced to three years of supervised probation and 30 days in jail. She is also required to serve 100 hours of community service. (Perhaps she’ll be assigned to a service project that requires lots of walking.) The boyfriend was sentenced to 15 days in jail. However, the two both had 15 days removed from their sentences for time served.

In this day and age, when so many mobile devices are able to capture digital images anytime and anywhere, it never ceases to amaze me how criminals believe they can get away with fraudulent behavior. It’s a certainty that new digital technology will be beneficial in stopping this type of criminal behavior that increases costs for law abiding businesses and taxpayers. Keep in mind, if you suspect fraudulent activity of any kind; don’t hesitate to report it when you see it.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Couple Sentenced for Workers’ Comp Fraud,” published in the Daily Press on April 10, 2014.

VICTORVILLE – A former special needs instructional aide is due in court Tuesday for a hearing on restitution after she pleaded no contest to felony workers’ compensation fraud.

Melinda O’Connor, 56, of Victorville, entered into the plea bargain earlier this year. Her boyfriend, 58-year-old David Muro, also of Victorville, was convicted of aiding and abetting the fraud, court records show.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.