LAPD Officer Charged With Workers’ Comp Fraud
Workers’ comp is designed to assist employees who become ill as a result of, or are injured on the job. The vast majority of workers’ comp claims are completely legitimate; however, a small percentage of claims are filed by schemers who poison the system to line their own pockets. Because of these illegitimate claims, insurance companies underwriting workers’ comp policies spend enormous amounts of time, energy and resources in investigating and bringing to justice dishonest claimants who file claims for fake or inflated injuries.
Investigation of LAPD Officer Exposes Workers’ Comp Fraud
In May of 2019, Mario Jacinto, a Los Angeles police officer, was arrested and subsequently charged with four counts of workers’ comp fraud and one count of perjury after allegedly lying under oath about participating in martial arts classes during the time he claimed to be injured, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Jacinto, a resident of Diamond Bar, is accused of falsifying the severity of injuries he allegedly received on the job, and for which he was receiving disability benefits.
According to the District Attorney’s office, from October of 2018 to January, 2019, Jacinto allegedly participated in activities that were inconsistent with his work-related claims, and received benefits to which he was not entitled.
Jacinto filed a claim under workers’ comp for an unspecified injury he said he suffered at work on May 21, 2018. In deposition, Jacinto stated that he had not participated in martial arts classes after being injured. However, according to a spokesman for the DA’s office, that statement was false.
According to the LAPD, Jacinto was released on $50,000 bail. If convicted, the maximum sentence could land him in jail for up to eight years. The LAPD’s workers’ comp fraud unit continues to investigate the case.
Workers’ Comp Fraud is Extremely Expensive
The staggering truth is that fraudulent workers’ comp claims cost the state of California billions of dollars annually. An obvious consequence of fraudulent claims is a raise in insurance premiums. Higher premiums of course reduce business profits, and lower profits result in lower pay and fewer jobs for honest workers.
Fraudulent claims take longer to investigate and overload the workers’ comp system, resulting in a cumbersome and inefficient process of resolving claims, providing for reimbursement, and even in authorizing medical treatment for a legitimately injured worker.
Everyone is Hurt by False and Inflated Workers’ Comp Claims
The workers’ comp system is meant to assist employees who become ill or sustained injuries as a result of workplace conditions. Sadly, there are those who take advantage of the system and either inflate or falsify an injury or medical condition for their own benefit.
Workers’ comp fraud is not a victimless crime. Many employees with legitimate injuries or work related illnesses are forced to wait for treatment or to be paid the benefits they are entitled to because of the overloaded system. Fraudulent claims take countless hours to investigate.
How Workers’ Comp Fraud is Uncovered
Workers’ comp physicians are trained to spot inflated or fraudulent claims, and are required to report it. Insurance companies have entire departments dedicated to investigating suspicious claims. Private investigators are routinely hired to conduct surveillance on claimants if there is an indication that injuries have been exaggerated or fabricated.
Social media posts are also avenues for investigation. Many schemers are caught because they boast on social media about activities that could clearly not be done if their injuries were as severe as they have claimed.
Honesty is the Best Policy in Workers’ Comp
Workers’ comp fraud occurs when either an individual or an employer knowingly makes a false, material statement related to a workers’ comp claim. Workers’ comp fraud is categorized as a class E felony, punishable by fines, imprisonment, or both.
When filing your claim, it is vital to tell the truth. Exaggerating your injury will only hurt you. How you act and what you do during your disability period can also have an effect on your claim. Seeking the advice of an expert workers’ comp attorney will ensure that you receive the maximum benefits you deserve and will keep you from making missteps that could lead to trouble.
Long Beach Workers Comp Lawyers
The workers’ comp system is extremely complicated. Cantrell Green is a highly experienced firm specializing in workers’ comp and disability. We can help you get the benefits and compensation that you deserve. We know the law and how the workers’ comp system functions – what you can (and can’t) do in terms of claiming injury or illness. If you live in the greater Los Angeles area or Orange County, contact our Long Beach office for a free consultation.
Your consultation with our workers’ comp lawyers is 100% confidential, and neither your employer nor your insurance company will be notified that you requested a consultation with us. Our lawyers will help you understand your rights and work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the maximum workers’ comp benefits for which you qualify.