Dirty Business

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A Simi Valley, Calif., janitor, who supposedly injured his right shoulder while working in a local school system, was put on temporary total disability and began receiving medical treatment and workers’ compensation benefits. While everything appeared to be aboveboard, he was actually committing workers compensation fraud while working at a carpet cleaning business that he owned. (He was two-timing his employer and the insurance company that was paying him workers’ compensation benefits.)

Hazards of the janitorial industry include injuries from repetitive motions that can cause strains, sprains and back injuries. Mopping or cleaning up spills can cause slip-and-fall accidents, while there’s also the possibility of electrical chocks from cleaning equipment and exposure to toxic chemicals. After today’s fraudster injured his right shoulder, you would think that he would not be able to handle any physical work until his shoulder healed. (But, as you might guess, that was not the case.)

The insurance company found out that the former janitor owned a carpet cleaning business. When questioned about the amount of labor he contributed to the operation, the Simi Valley man explained that he did not perform any physical labor. (He said his father and son did all the work.)

This is where video surveillance revealed a different story. Apparently, investigators caught the injured janitor using both of his arms to carry heavy hoses, move furniture and appliances and push a large pressure washer up and down ramps. (Remember that he told investigators that he did not do any strenuous physical activity? Oops.)

The 36-year-old former janitor and carpet cleaning business owner couldn’t argue with the evidence and pleaded guilty to workers compensation fraud. The judge ordered him to serve 90 days in the county jail and placed him on summary probation (which does not involve meeting with a probation officer) for three years. Lucky for him, the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor because the former janitor paid $24,000 in restitution to the workers’ compensation insurance company.

While janitorial work and carpet cleaning are dirty work, cleaning up fraud can get filthy. Today’s fraud article states that fraudulent workers compensation claims in the U.S. cost employers $2 billion annually. (Many of those costs are passed along to the public through higher costs in goods in services. Employers have to pay the insurance premiums for their employees somehow.) Congratulations to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office for cleaning up the mess today’s fraudster left behind.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article, CA: Custodian Pleads Guilty to Workers’ Compensation Fraud,” posted on WorkersCompensation.com on June 19, 2019.

Ventura, CA (WorkersCompensation.com) – District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today that Garrett Moore (DOB 12/26/1983), of Simi Valley, was sentenced today after pleading guilty to a felony violation of Penal Code section 550(b )(1 )-making a fraudulent statement of a material fact for the purpose of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits.

Moore was placed on summary probation for a period of 36 months and was ordered to serve 90 days in the Ventura County jail. The offense was reduced to a misdemeanor by the court because Moore had previously made restitution in full to victim insurance company, York Risk Services, in the amount of $24,000.

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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.