A Collision with the Law

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When a California personal care worker reported she could not work due to an automobile collision that occurred while she was carrying out her job responsibilities, she also collided with California Workers’ Compensation law. The accident report stated that she committed workers’ compensation fraud by providing false and misleading information in order to collect workers’ compensation insurance benefits. (Read on to find out how much the ticket is going to cost her.)

Personal care providers assist individuals who are sick, injured, disabled or elderly by helping clients with daily activities within their homes. Some daily activities such as bathing, dressing, feeding, providing medication and housework are light, and at other times heavy lifting is required. (Sometimes clients must be lifted out of their beds, chairs or even out of automobiles when being transported to doctor appointments. That can be a back-breaking job.) If a personal assistant sustains an injury while on-the-job, they can apply for workers’ compensation insurance benefits.

The Tuolumne County Social Services Department worker in today’s fraud article claimed she sustained injuries during a motor vehicle crash, while performing her duties during scheduled work hours. (Apparently, the crash was not accidental, she had hoped to reap the benefit of workers compensation benefits.)

While the automobile crash was probably legitimate, her statement about what happened was not. She apparently unlawfully and knowingly lied about her condition in order to collect workers’ compensation insurance benefits. An investigation into her medical treatment and application for benefits was conducted, revealing that she misrepresented the truth regarding her physical abilities and limitations following her injury.

The personal care provider from California was convicted of workers’ compensation fraud for lying about her injuries. She was sentenced to three years of probation and must pay a fine of $1,000 and $27,500 in restitution to Tuolumne County to reimburse the government for the amount of benefits she stole and the cost of the investigation. (I’m not trying to encourage anyone to deliberately commit a traffic violation, but in this particular case, a speeding ticket would have been a lot less expensive.) Today’s case is a perfect example of what happens when a fraudster collides with the law. Today’s offender was fortunate to be able to walk away from the crash site without a prison sentence.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Woman convicted of workers compensation insurance fraud,” published by The Union Democrat on January 25, 2019.  

A personal care provider for the Tuolumne County Social Services Department was convicted of workers compensation insurance fraud, the Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday afternoon.

District Attorney Laura Krieg said Janice Richardson pleaded no contest to insurance fraud, and that she unlawfully and knowingly made a statement containing false and misleading information to obtain workers compensation insurance benefits.

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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.