Five men have been indicted in a $100 million workers comp fraud scam that left hundreds of workers across the country without urgent medical care and death benefits, according to reports by the Associated Press and All Headline News.
Between 2001 and 2004, the five men allegedly sold bogus workers’ compensation insurance coverage to companies. Businesses allegedly paid premiums for fraudulent, illegal and sham coverage. When employees were injured or killed on the job, these insurance policies didn’t pay.
The effect was devastating for some workers, as this quote from the AHN article shows: “We found one victim homeless, living in her car, because of mounting medical bills, and five families left with no death benefits after fatal accidents,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “Floridians suffered greatly and did not receive needed medical care and workers’ compensation benefits because these individuals were interested only in enriching themselves.”
A joint investigation between federal and state authorities in Florida helped unravel the scheme. Unfortunately, there is evidence that at least some of the businesses who bought the bogus insurance did so knowing that the insurance policies were fraudulent and that they were putting workers at risk. I’d like to echo Sink’s sentiments that the people who masterminded this fraud, and those who risked the lives and the health of workers in order to save a buck, should be brought to justice.
“I want to thank every investigator, every attorney, and every crime analyst who helped bring these men in to justice,” Sink said. “Providing workers’ compensation coverage is both a legal and a moral obligation, and we owe it to these injured workers and surviving families to make these individuals answer for what they did.”