Two Los Angeles Police Department officers were arrested and charged with fraud related to securing Workers’ Compensation benefits. One officer was charged with workers’ compensation fraud, insurance fraud, grand theft and attempted perjury. The perjury charge arises from sworn testimony the accused officer gave during a deposition in 2012. The other officer faces two felony counts of workers’ compensation fraud and grand theft, also arising from a claim the officer filed in 2012.
Workers compensation fraud in California is a serious offense. The state first criminalized workers’ compensation fraud in 1991. It is a kind of insurance fraud and can occur in one of two ways. The first and most common involves a person or persons knowingly lying to obtain benefits (monetary or otherwise) to which they would not otherwise be entitled. The other kind of workers’ compensation fraud involves a person or persons knowingly lying for the purpose of denying benefits to someone who is otherwise entitled to receive them.
Workers’ compensation fraud laws can apply to any person who takes part in the fraud, not just the person who ultimately benefits from a successful fraud. Those persons who directly participate, aid those who convince others to participate or conspire with others to perpetrate a fraud can be charged under the statute.
Frauds can take many forms, including submitting false claims, submitting claims for non-work related injuries, submitting a claim for a benefit that was not used on behalf of the injured party, overstating the seriousness of an injury, presenting prior conditions as new injuries, presenting multiple payment requests for the same service or benefit, working while receiving workers’ compensation benefits and other similar activities.
Workers’ compensation fraud can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the amount of the fraud. Frauds involving amounts less than $950 are charged as a misdemeanor and can result in fines of up to $1,000 and detention in the county jail for up to six months.
For amounts that exceed $950, the prosecutor may pursue either misdemeanor or felony charges. For misdemeanor convictions on frauds exceeding $950, a conviction can net a fine of up to $1,000 and one year of detention in the county jail. For felony convictions, the penalties can range between 2 and 5 years, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.
If you’ve been accused of workers’ compensation fraud, the stakes are high. You run the risk of conviction, incarceration, fines, revocation of benefits to which you might otherwise be entitled and you could run the risk of losing your job. If you’re facing insurance fraud charges related to workers’ compensation in California, contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Helfend toll-free at (800) 834-6434 or locally at (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for a consultation. Robert M. Helfend is an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help!