Fraud Hits a Pothole

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It takes a bold public employee to collect workers’ compensation checks from the state, all while running a home improvement business on the side. But, according to a recent Syracuse.com report, that is what one former New York State Department of Transportation employee did when he illegally applied for and received $10,000 in workers’ compensation benefits. (CAUTION: Fraud Ahead)

A press release issued by the New York Attorney General verified that this tricky transportation worker submitted false claims to the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF) that made it seem as though he was not working, due to a previous on-the-job injury. (STOP me if you’ve heard this one.) However, a joint investigation by the New York State Office of the Inspector General and the NYSIF soon found that, during the eight months he collected workers’ compensation benefits, he was busy as a contractor—fixing chimneys, roofs, gutters, etc.Even so, he made false representations of his employment status on five documents sent to the state, allowing him to collect nearly $10,000 in benefits. (WRONG WAY)

Ultimately, the man pleaded guilty to his crimes and was convicted of misdemeanor attempted fraudulent practices, sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $9,940 in restitution. He also gave up his job as a state highway maintenance worker. (EXIT HERE)

It goes without saying that if the state is paying you for an injury that you suffered as one of its employees, they’re going to monitor your status—even just to know when to expect you back at work. Not only is this scam not very well thought-out, it’s wrong to steal limited funds that are meant for people who are actually injured and unable to work. (WORKER SAFETY ZONE – FINES DOUBLE) Shame on this state worker for disrespecting and taking advantage of his employer and stealing from those more vulnerable than he was, and congratulations to the state of New York for bringing him to justice.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”Ex-NYS DOT worker must repay $10K from workers comp fraud,” written by Mike McAndrew and published by Syracuse.com on February 11, 2016.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A former New York State Department of Transportation worker was ordered to pay $9,940 in restitution to the state for fraudulently collecting workers’ compensation benefits while working another job.

Corey J. Cragnolin, 35, of Rochester, was also sentenced in Rochester City Court to three years on probation for his misdemeanor conviction of attempted fraudulent practices, Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced.

Cragnolin resigned from his state highway maintenance job in November when he pleaded guilty.

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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.