Warnings exist to provide protection. For example, there are warning labels printed on plastic bags to remind you to throw them away so children don’t accidentally put them over their heads and suffocate. There are warning signs in construction areas to make sure hard hats are worn. Even mattresses have warning labels, (Who knows why you need to be warned about your mattress.) Today’s fraud article is about a Trinity, Florida man who neglected a very important warning and is now guilty of Workers’ Compensation fraud.
The Trinity, Florida man experienced a job-related injury in 2004 while working at the Orlando International Airport. He was placed on the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Workers’ Compensation Program’s (OWCP) long-term period role the following year. As a result, he received about $5,500 per month tax-free from the OWCP. (Wow-that’s a pretty amazing income. It’s easy to understand why he’d want to commit Workers’ Compensation fraud.)
Let’s back up the fraud bus for just a moment. Today’s fraudster was required to complete and submit an OWCP CA-Form 1032 annually. (This form documents all types of employment where an individual receives income, such as salary, wages, or sales commissions.) The DOL uses the form to determine eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
Here’s the kicker. The form that the recipient had to submit on an annual basis contains a warning. That warning states that if the recipient provides false or evasive answers to any of the questions, or omits an answer, they could forfeit their compensation benefits and be subject to civil liability or be criminally prosecuted. (That sounds pretty clear to me.)
Despite the warning, the Floridian lied on the form when asked about volunteer work in the previous 15 months. He had actually volunteered as a cart driver and greeter for a large hospital where we worked one day a week. (While it sounds like today’s perpetrator was a nice guy, he lied to the government.) Federal agents happened to catch him engaging in routine physical activity that included some yardwork, automotive and house maintenance and other errands that required heavy lifting. (Then there’s the problem of him lying about his health status during a call with a federal agent.)
The Trinity, Florida man was sentenced to five years of probation for committing Workers’ Compensation fraud. The first six months of his sentence will be served on home detention. He must also pay $123,434.89 in restitution. (Here’s a warning to anyone thinking about committing Workers’ Compensation fraud in the future: you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, so think twice before lying to the government.)
Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Florida Man Sentenced to Five Years’ Probation for Workers’ Comp Fraud,” published by Insurance Journal on June 25, 2018.
A Trinity, Fla., man has been sentenced to five years’ probation, with the first six months to be served on home detention, for making a false statement in connection with his workers’ compensation benefits.
As part of the sentence issued by U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore to Gary W. Rochevot, the court ordered Rochevot to pay $123,434.89 in restitution. He pleaded guilty on March 23, 2018.