Monkey Business

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Monkeys are lively, intelligent animals that behave similarly to humans in many ways. Just like humans, monkeys can be mischievous, but they generally do not commit fraud. The Telegram & Gazette reports about a Worcester woman, who was monkeying around with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents by lying about income she received, while simultaneously collecting workers’ compensation benefits. (I bet the investigators went ape over that.)

The story reports the 39-year-old received workers’ compensation benefits after she was injured in an on-the-job accident. She collected those benefits until she was laid off from her job about a month later, at which point she began collecting unemployment benefits. After her unemployment benefits expired, she received the workers’ compensation benefits again for approximately another year and a half. During a portion of that time, the woman opened a daycare business called Lil’ Monkey Ranch Childcare in her Charlton home. (That sounds like more fun than a barrel of monkeys.)

In order to continue receiving her workers’ compensation benefits, the woman was required to periodically submit an employee earnings report to the state. Unfortunately, she lied on her earnings report and stated that she had not received any income during the previous six months. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she then lied about her income again under oath at a hearing with the Department of Industrial Accidents. Three months later, the woman was interviewed by investigators and she finally confessed that she had received income from the business while collecting $5,275 in workers compensation benefits over about a five month period.

According to court records, the woman’s lawyer stated that the woman was going through some serious personal issues at the time of the crime. (We all have monkeys on our back from time to time.) Because she had no prior criminal record, the judge went easy on her and placed her on probation for five years and ordered her to repay restitution for the full amount of the benefits she collected. She will be eligible to get off probation after two years, if the restitution is paid in full by that time.

Monkeys at the zoo are held captive in their cages, but lucky for her, this woman won’t be spending any time in a jail cell. Because she didn’t have a prior record, and she admitted her wrongdoing, she has a second chance at stopping her monkey business and acting like a fine, upstanding citizen.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Webster Woman Pleads Guilty to Workers’ Comp Fraud, Perjury,” written by Gary V. Murray and published in the Telegram & Gazette on September 3, 2013.

WORCESTER — A Webster woman was placed on probation and ordered to pay restitution Tuesday after pleading guilty to workers’ compensation fraud and perjury charges.

Donna M. Bricault, 39, admitted during a plea hearing in Worcester Superior Court that she fraudulently collected more than $5,000 in workers’ compensation benefits in 2007 while deriving undisclosed income from a day care center she ran out of her home. Ms. Bricault also acknowledged lying under oath at a state Department of Industrial Accidents hearing when she asserted she had no earnings for the previous six months.

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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.