Worker’s Compensation Fraud
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that many companies are required to purchase to pay for medical bills and a portion of the lost wages accrued by employees injured in workplace accidents. In some cases, workers’ compensation can also be used to pay for a worker’s rehabilitation and training for a new job. In Florida, all workers’ compensation claims are overseen by the Florida Division of workers’ compensation.
When one party commits workers’ compensation fraud, everybody suffers: the workers’ compensation provider, the insured companies, and the company’s’ employees. Stealing from workers’ compensation in any way is a criminal offense that can carry steep penalties for an individual if he or she is convicted. Individuals facing this type of charge are advised to work with criminal defense lawyers to defend their cases.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Fraud
For an employee, the following can be charged as workers’ compensation fraud:
- Exaggerating symptoms of an injury to take more time off work or receive more compensation;
- Feigning illness or injury for the purpose of receiving workers’ compensation;
- Reporting a workplace accident that did not actually happen;
- Submitting falsified information in a workers’ compensation claim; and
- Claiming that a non-work related injury occurred in a workplace accident.
Employers can commit workers’ compensation fraud as well. This can take the following forms:
- Misclassifying employees to receive lower workers’ compensation premiums; and
- Deducting workers’ compensation premiums from employee wages.
Workers’ compensation can also be an act of fraud on a healthcare provider’s part. Instances of this include:
- Billing a workers’ compensation provider for services that were not performed; and
- Requiring unnecessary testing or services for a financial benefit.
Penalties for Workers’ Compensation Fraud in Florida
How an act of alleged Workers’ Compensation fraud is charged depends on the value of the money stolen.
- If the defendant is accused of stealing less than $20,000 worth of compensation from a workers’ compensation provider, he or she may be charged with a third degree felony. The penalties for this conviction are up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000;
- If the money stolen was between $20,000 and $100,000, the defendant may be found guilty of a second degree felony. Soliciting injured individuals from hospitals and other institutions for the purpose of filing workers’ compensation claims is also a second degree felony. For this conviction, the penalties are up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000; and
- When workers’ compensation fraud results in $100,000 or more being stolen, the alleged offender faces a first degree felony charge. The penalties for this offense are up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Work with an Experienced Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with workers’ compensation fraud, be proactive and start developing your legal defense strategy with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact our team at All Criminal Defense Law Group, P.A. today to schedule your initial consultation in our office.