Truckin’ Along

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According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), an estimated 135.6 million U.S. workers were covered by workers’ compensation insurance in 2015. With premiums costing anywhere from less than $100 to thousands a year per employee, workers’ compensation insurance can be a huge expense for employers depending on the industry and the number of employees. A Lee Center, New York truck driver scammed his employer and the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board out of benefits he did not deserve. Through a workers’ compensation fraud scheme he managed to keep on truckin’ for a decade.

One of the most dangerous occupations around is heavy truck and tractor-trailer driving. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2015, this category of occupations had among the highest number of incidences of missing work for multiple days due to occupational injuries. While truckers play an important role in driving the American economy, they also pay a heavy price by spending a lot of time away from home. They experience fatigue from driving long distances and exhaustion from working long days and unloading heavy cargo. (It’s easy to understand how this occupation has a lot of workers’ compensation claims.)

The Lee Center driver was apparently injured while working for an Oneida County trucking company in 2004. Shortly after the injury occurred, he was approved to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Fast forward to 2016 and 2017 when he repeatedly submitted fake claims to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board and to his doctor. He also reported that he had not worked in more than a decade. (I’ll blow the horn on this guy. He actually worked for at least two trucking companies, if not more, during that time.)

The New Yorker received more than $7,800 in workers’ compensation benefits in 2016. (He wasn’t entitled to collect those benefits.) In 2017, the fraudster applied for a New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) highway maintenance job. He had to submit documents saying that he never incurred an injury when working. (The lies kept rolling along until he hit a roadblock.) He was fired from the NYSDOT job when his workers’ compensation fraud scheme was exposed.

The 48-year-old former truck driver from Lee Center pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud for collecting benefits he did not deserve. He was sentenced to three years of probation and was ordered to pay back $7,875 in restitution. (The fraudster was very lucky he didn’t get hauled away to prison.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Lee Center truck driver pleads guilty to perjury for Workers’ Comp,” posted on www.WKTV.com on August 15, 2018.

UTICA – A truck driver from Lee Center has pleaded guilty to perjury for receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits he wasn’t entitled to, according to New York State Workers’ Compensation Fraud Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott.

Roger Decker Jr., 48, pleaded guilty to third-degree perjury in Utica City Court on Wednesday.

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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.