The Root of the Problem

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The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board requires employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. (This is to assist injured employees with recovery, while also protecting employers from lawsuits.) An Auburn, New York man defied state law by committing Workers’ Compensation Fraud, not once, but twice. He didn’t carry insurance for his employees and he illegally collected more than $83,000 in workers’ compensation benefits he was not eligible for.

The Auburn man first applied for workers’ compensation benefits after purportedly being injured on-the-job as a heavy equipment operator for a Syracuse construction firm. (Although he filed claims and other necessary documents with his state’s Workers’ Compensation Board to qualify for benefits, he continued to work, but not for the same firm.)

The deceptive man started his own company. He opened a logging company and employed two workers. In the meantime, he continued to collect more than $80,000 in undeserved workers’ compensation benefits, while raking in more than $150,000 from his ownership of the company.

During this time, the logging company owner told the Workers’ Compensation Board that he was not working. (He claimed total disability, but at the same time was climbing in and out of large log-skidder tractors and going up and down trees with a chainsaw. Those are certainly activities that would be hard to accomplish if fully disabled.)

While heading up the logging company, the deceitful owner neglected to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for his two employees. (This is an obvious violation of state law, but understanding that logging is one of the most dangerous jobs in America, the disregard for his employees’ safety is appalling.)

The 54-year-old man pleaded guilty to three felony charges related to Workers’ Compensation Fraud including second-degree grand larceny, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and second-degree insurance fraud. In addition, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failure to secure workers’ compensation insurance.

While this man brazenly abused and stole from the state’s system designed to protect honest, hardworking employees and employers in New York, the state government has dealt a final blow to the roots of this particular scheme. (When the defendant is sentenced in the Fall, I doubt any of his employees will go out on a limb to vouch for him as “Employer of the Year.”)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, Auburn man admits stealing $83K in workers’ comp benefitsposted on auburnpub.com on August 17, 2017.

An Auburn man admitted Wednesday to stealing more than $83,000 in workers’ compensation benefits and not providing employees at his logging company with workers’ compensation insurance coverage. 

David Sigl, 54, pleaded guilty to three felony charges — second-degree grand larceny, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and second-degree insurance fraud. He also pleaded guilty to the workers’ compensation crime of failure to secure compensation, a misdemeanor.

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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.