Although some consider it a “victimless crime,” the consequences of workers’ compensation fraud can spread out to an entire community. Insurers pass the high costs of fraud off to employers in the form of higher premiums, which means employers have fewer funds for employee benefits and raises, or for expanding the workforce. When one employee commits fraud, other employees are left to pay the price and pick up the slack while their dishonest coworker reaps the benefits.
Employees may also be unaware that workers’ compensation fraud is a serious crime which can result in fines, restitution, jail time, or imprisonment in a state correctional facility for up to 20 years. What may seem like a small lie is actually a big crime – and your employees need to know that.
We here at CPC have created the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Fraud Poster to provide vital information on what constitutes workers’ compensation fraud, the laws which prohibit it, the legal consequences of breaking the law, and how to report suspected fraud.
What does workers’ compensation fraud look like?
Common forms of workers’ compensation fraud committed by employees include:
- Faking or exaggerating an injury in order to collect benefits and avoid work;
- Claiming that an injury happened in the workplace when it actually occurred at another location, such as the employee’s home;
- Claiming an injury long after an incident happened in the workplace;
- Receiving unnecessary medical treatment, for either a real or a fake injury; or
- Collecting workers’ compensation benefits after an injury has healed and the employee is able to resume work.
Workers’ compensation fraud may also be committed by employers who under-report or improperly categorize employees for the purpose of lowering insurance premiums, or by healthcare providers who submit false medical documentation to an insurance company.
It is a felony to knowingly provide false information in connection with a workers’ compensation award. Obtaining money by means of fraud, such as receiving workers’ compensation benefits based on fraudulent statements, is larceny, and may be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the amount of money obtained.
How should you report fraud?
The Virginia State Police Insurance Fraud Program runs a tip hotline at 1-877-62FRAUD and also accepts tips on the web at stampoutfraud.com. Tips may be given anonymously, but the Commonwealth of Virginia incentivizes citizens to report suspected incidents of insurance fraud by offering monetary rewards for information. Tips leading to an arrest may result in rewards of up to $25,000.
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Fraud Poster
Keeping employees informed about the high costs of workers’ compensation fraud and incentivizing them to report suspected fraud is good for you, your business, and your employees. The 2012 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse found that businesses which have strong anti-fraud programs and policies experience shorter occurrences of fraud and less costly losses.
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Fraud Poster can help you start a dialog with employees about workers’ compensation fraud, and let them know how and why they should report it. You can get started by ordering your poster here today.