When we think of workers comp fraud, we usually focus on the actions of a primary stakeholder: employers (under-reporting payroll, misclassifying employees), doctors (billing for phantom or unnecessary treatments), lawyers (pocketing settlement dollars) and, last but not least, workers (faking injuries). When it comes to fraud, workers comp offers opportunities for just about everyone.
Today we examine a different approach to fraud, one that does not impact the comp system at all.
This particular scam is the alleged handiwork of Sandra Freeman, 53, a resident of Chico, California. The victim is a 72 year old woman residing in Danville, Illinois.
The victim received a Facebook message, saying she was eligible for a $150,000 workers comp settlement. All she had to do was pay an application fee, delivery fee, taxes, insurance and attorney fees. The victim sent $28,700 to Chico and then anxiously awaited a check in the mail. There were several checks and money orders flying around, but none for the victim: Freeman forwarded the money to a number of locations in Nigeria.
Our sympathies for the victim are slightly moderated by her sheer ignorance of the workers comp system. It’s one thing to think you’ve won a lottery and quite another to expect a workers comp settlement where there is no job, no injury and significant up-front cost to the employee. Ms. Freeman will likely lose her freedom for a stretch, while the victim broods on the comp settlement that never was.
Senior Workers Comp Consultant