When an employee suffers a serious work-related injury, they can turn to their employer's workers' compensation insurer for the financial assistance they will undoubtedly need. This is true whether the employee works in an industrial setting, office, retail store or any other setting. Unfortunately, employee fraud is still relatively common, meaning some employees will fake or exaggerate the extent of their injuries in order to collect work comp benefits.
To illustrate, consider a recent case out of New Jersey that made headlines for the employee's rather brazen -- yet ultimately unsuccessful -- bid to commit workers' compensation fraud.
According to reports, Victoria C. of Union City, was employed as a customer-service worker at a Target store located in North Bergen. It was here that authorities allege she set up an elaborate hoax designed to make it appear as if she had suffered serious injuries caused by falling boxes.
Specifically, Victoria C. -- seemingly unaware of the presence of video surveillance cameras in a back storeroom -- was first recorded arranging the boxes on a shelf so that they were in a position to fall. Next, she was recorded arranging boxes around her before positioning a shopping cart on top of her.
While this may seem unbelievable by itself, the surveillance camera also recorded her repeatedly striking herself in the head with a fistful of batteries and then leaving the scene to secure a beverage and some crackers, eventually forcing herself to vomit.
She then restaged the scene, carefully taking photographs.
Victoria C. subsequently informed her employers at Target that a box she was taking to the storeroom accidentally struck a shelf, causing other boxes to fall onto her head and making her sick in the process.
After viewing the surveillance footage, law enforcement officials were summoned and Victoria C. has since been charged with work comp fraud. She is currently free on bond and faces up to ten years in prison if convicted.
Workers compensation fraud/employee fraud is a very serious crime. If you suspect that such a crime has been perpetrated against your organization, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced workers' comp defense attorney.
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Names have been withheld to protect the identity of the parties.
Business Insurance, "Attempt at workers compensation fraud misses target" Feb. 23, 2012