Anukul and Anurag Dass were a brother and sister team who ran a pain clinic in Houston before they were charged with a seven-year fraud scheme, during which time they requested $9.1 million in reimbursement for false workers’ compensation claims. An associate of the Dass’s, Stephen Hunt, turned himself in. The brother and sister ran A&A Pain and Wellness Center, Inc. from 2010 to 2017. Hunt allegedly sent postal employees to the pain clinic and got kickbacks for each claim Anukul and Anurag filed falsely for medical treatment and health care services. Workers’ Compensation was billed more than $9.1 million in services that were either not rendered or unnecessary. They paid Anukul and Anurag $7.2 million on claims that the government alleges are fraudulent.
Client story: Recently, a young automotive technician working at a small, independent repair shop, got a shard of glass embedded in his wrist when he got into a car that had recently had the windshield broken. The wound became infected, and “Joe” (who was only 24 at the time) required intravenous antibiotics and surgery to remove the piece of glass. The incident left him with limited mobility, which affected his ability to work as efficiently as he had prior to the accident. While he was recuperating, he received Workers’ Compensation at 40 percent of his pay. Additionally, after working with an experienced Workers’ Comp attorney, he was awarded a settlement of $7,000 for lost mobility. Last spring, the New York State Assembly asked the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) to make recommendations for revising the payments workers such as Joe receive when they are injured on the job. According to Germain Harnden, executive director of the Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health (WNYCOSH), the Worker’s Compensation Board took the request of the legislature as an opportunity to reduce workers’ comp expenses for business. Their recommendations will cut protective regulations and affect the amount of benefits to injured workers. These… Continue Reading Businesses pressure Workers’ Comp to cut protections for workers injured on the job
In Kansas City, MO, the now-closed Bannister Federal Complex was the site of exposure to toxic chemicals while the plant was in operation. This exposure may have caused severe illnesses and even death. More than 700 workers are now saying they are having a difficult time getting workers’ compensation benefits as they fight rare forms of cancer or severe diseases. EPA records show that there was a toxic spill of promethium 147 discovered in 1989 that had gone undiscovered for years. At the plant, safety measures were oftentimes not taken, nor protective gear provided. Those affected hope that the chemicals will be contained as part of the demolition process of the plant. Cleanup of the facility could begin before 2018.
During last month’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, several off-duty California police officers took decisive action and some were even injured. When they returned home, their workers’ compensation claims were denied. The California statute states that public agencies must pay benefits to off-duty officers hurt while they are involved in the protection or preservation of life or property, or the preservation of peace anywhere in the state, but it makes no mention of out-of-state incidents. Some attorneys believe that ambiguities in the legislation should be resolved by lawmakers. Others believe that preservation of life leaves no restrictions on the officer’s location at the time of the incident. The Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs stated: “Where the law is vague, the legislature has instructed the courts to liberally construe workers’ compensation statutes in favor of injured workers.” If the claims are approved, taxpayers may have to pay the officers’ medical bills, and the officers could be eligible for paid time off and early retirement.
Workers who are employed at physically demanding jobs set off each day with confidence the safety factors put in place to protect them on the work-site will prevent any accidents. But you can’t plan for everything, as Paul, a long-time truck driver found out. In June of 2013, Paul stepped out of his truck, caught his foot in the step, and fell five feet to the ground. Paul suffered extensive injuries from his fall, including his shoulders, both knees, his right hip, cervical spine and left elbow. “In February 2014, he had neck surgery, then later in 2014 and 2015 Paul had surgery on both knees to repair torn ligaments,” said Jeffrey Freedman, managing attorney, Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC. “A year ago this past February surgeons operated on his elbow and wrist, which left him with a painful nerve condition called RSD. When he developed the RSD the doctors elected not to do other surgeries they had planned because they felt it would worsen the condition.” Ultimately, Paul could no longer work, however, the Workers Compensation insurer was resisting paying fair compensation for the extent of his pain and lost income. After litigation for the permanent damages Paul had suffered,… Continue Reading Over $370K Obtained for Client Injured at Work
Robert McGeehan was recently indicted on charges of third degree insurance fraud and second degree theft by deception after he collected over $75,000 in federal workers’ compensation benefits. Between July 2015 and June 2017, McGeehan received Workers’ Comp benefits and benefits from the United States Postal Service by falsely claiming that an on the job fall in 2008 rendered him medically unfit to perform his duties as a postman. He did fall on ice while delivering mail in 2008 and had surgery to repair torn cartilage. The USPS deemed him fit to return to work on light duty in 2009, 2010, and 2012, but McGeehan disputed those findings and turned down other jobs within the USPS. McGeehan, however, was photographed zip lining while on vacation and rappelling in June and July of 2016. USPS investigators recorded him doing yardwork outside his home with a chainsaw and handsaw and throwing logs. As Prosecutor Christopher Iu stated: “Those who unlawfully collect workers’ compensation benefits undermine the integrity of the government assistance program and cause funds to be diverted from people who truly need them. The indictment of this postal worker sends a message that workers’ compensation fraud is a serious crime with… Continue Reading New Jersey Postman Steals Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The NY AFL-CIO is pushing back against a set of proposed Workers Compensation regulations, claiming they will slash benefits to injured workers. They claim the regulations would drastically reduce payments to workers who have suffered diminished use of a leg or arm. They would also place increased requirements on injured workers to show their future earning capacity would be diminished and make it harder for workers to contest their awards. The proposed regulations resulted from Governor Cuomo’s approved legislation that required the Workers Compensation Board to modernize its guidelines to reflect advances in medical technologies that get workers back on the job faster than in prior years. The proposed regulations are still subject to change, and the board is in the process of accepting public comments on them, and the board is required by law to have new regulations in place by January 1, 2018.
David Sigl of Auburn, NY recently pleaded guilty to stealing over $83,000 in workers’ compensation benefits as well as not providing his employees at his logging company workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Mr. Sigl pleaded guilty to three felony charges (second-degree grand larceny, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, and second-degree insurance fraud) and a misdemeanor for failure to secure compensation for his workers. He began collecting workers’ compensation benefits in 2013 after suffering an injury while working for a construction company in Syracuse. He asserted that he was not working while collecting benefits, but he was operating Lake Country Logging, a small company with two employees. Mr. Sigl earned more than $150,000 from his ownership of Lake Country Logging and collected more than $83,000 in workers’ compensation benefits to which he was not entitled.
Hawaii’s largest workers’ compensation insurer, Hawaii Employers’ Mutual Insurance Co. (HEMIC), is canceling insurance policies for seven medical marijuana dispensaries that prepared to open this summer. The insurance company notified the affected dispensaries Wednesday that their policies will be cancelled in 30 days and that premiums will be refunded. The company said that the board of directors were concerned about marijuana remaining on the list of illegal substances by the federal government. If the dispensaries cannot find companies to provide workers’ compensation insurance, it may delay their opening. HEMIC was quick to state: “We’re not providing an opinion of moral judgment on someone’s use of marijuana or not, and we’re certainly not taking a position opposed to the value of medicinal marijuana to treat certain medical conditions or chronic pain. This was really simply a legal decision.”
In Fort Lauderdale, Sheyla Veronica White, was caught on camera hitting herself on the head with a sprinkler that fell on her desk. She then filed a workers’ compensation claim for her “on-the job” injury. Her employer’s insurance company thought the footage looked suspicious, so they directed the incident to the Florida Division of Investigative and Forensic Services. Ms. White was convicted of workers’ compensation fraud, a third degree felony, and sentenced to 18 months of probation.