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Maybe you're sick of your job, or your boss, and you're looking for a little revenge. Or you've been injured on the job, recovered, and like the idea of getting paid to not work. And there's all this money in state workers' compensation insurance funds, just sitting there.
Any of these scenarios might sound tempting, but how do felony charges sound? As it turns out, the Inspector General of New York takes workers' comp fraud seriously; and you should, too.
Ronald Durand may have had a legitimate workers' compensation claim back in March of 2013, when he allegedly hurt his back delivering jugs of water. But months after a back injury serious enough to keep him out of work (and while still collecting benefits), Durand was spotted in the Watertown YMCA, "bench pressing as much as 335 pounds and performing other lifts with significant amounts of weight."
Even less sympathetic are the tales of Marleen Ayen and her fiance Anthony Hull. Ayen has been collecting workers' comp benefits ever since an alleged injury in 2004. Yet she was found working at a hardware store owned by Hull, who had refused many of his own employees workers' comp benefits and also told authorities he didn't even have employees.
Durand, Ayen, and Hull were charged with a bevy of criminal offenses, including third-degree grand larceny (a felony), third-degree criminal possession of stolen property (a misdemeanor), third-degree insurance fraud (a felony), first-degree offering a false instrument for filing (a felony), and first-degree falsifying business records (a felony).
Ayen and Hull are also facing crimes tied to the workers' compensation program: failure to secure the payment of compensation and fraudulent practices. All told, the trio are facing decades behind bars, and all for some free money. And not that much money, either -- the Citizen in New York reported that Ayen had collected just $3,200 over the last 12 years of fraud. Hopefully she saved enough for an attorney.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.