York Springs Man Begins Prison Term This Month for Workers’ Compensation Fraud

March 13, 2015

People mistakenly believe that workers’ compensation fraud is a “victimless” crime, but it’s not. Every time a person defrauds the system, another truly injured person may not be able to obtain the help he or she needs. Last year, a man named Robert Fowler lied on the forms he submitted to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, and essentially stole $24,934.18 from the department between September 2012 and July 2013.

Because of this, Mr. Fowler has been sentenced to three months in prison and two years of probation upon his release. He must also pay back $23,792.00 in restitution.

What constitutes fraud?

In Pennsylvania, people who are found guilty of workers’ compensation fraud may be subject to civil penalties, such as fines, and criminal penalties, such as jail or prison time. Some of the more common examples of fraud include:

  • Employer fraud. Lying about the number of employees in a company, or misclassifying employees as contractors in order to pay lower premiums, count as fraudulent behaviors. An employer who given an inaccurate description of the job, or who purposely misinforms an employee about when he or she may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits may also be guilty of committing fraud.
  • Employee fraud. Claiming an injury occurred at work when it didn’t, lying about whether or not you are eligible for benefits or claiming an injury is more serious than it is are all examples of employee fraud. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, “an employee commits fraud by knowingly and intentionally receiving wages while collecting total disability benefits or receiving partial disability benefits in excess of the amount permitted while receiving wages.”
  • Doctor fraud. Medical professionals can also commit fraud when it comes to workers’ compensation – on behalf of an employer (saying there is no injury or the injury is not serious) or on behalf of the employee (saying an injury is more serious than it is, or claiming the injury could only have resulted because of the work the person does). Doctors may also defraud the system by billing for work that was never done, or by insisting on extra exams or extra services in order to make more money from the system.

 

People like Mr. Fowler only hurt those who have been seriously and legitimately injured at work by trying to “scam” the system. At the law office of Larry Pitt & Associates, we do everything in our power to help you navigate the system legally and efficiently. If you were hurt on the job, contact one of our skilled Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers today to see how we can help.

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