Dancing Hamster Caught In Workers Compensation Scandal

ABC News reports on employee workers compensation fraud but misses the full story once again.

ABC News published another story about employee workers compensation fraud. This time it’s a dancing hamster from the popular Kia commercials. Leroy Barnes, a resident of Los Angeles, is accused of claiming $51,000 in disability benefits while working as a backup dancer.

This comes on the heels of an ABC News investigation regarding a woman caught on the Price Is Right while collecting workers compensation. The video caused several groans around our office.

We think ABC News is missing the full story on workers compensation fraud. Issues such as employee misclassification and premium fraud rarely get much attention. We acknowledge some bad apples exist but take issue with one-sided reporting.

The largest workers compensation carrier in Michigan, Accident Fund, is on record saying employee fraud occurs in less than 4% of cases. But the general public is still under the impression that fraud is out-of-control and only perpetrated by employees. Special interest groups use these misconceptions to attempt “reform” for their benefit.

Professor Leonard T. Jernigan Jr. recently compiled a list of 2013′s Top 10 Workers’ Compensation Fraud Cases. Employee fraud added up to just $1,500,000.00 while employer fraud represented $44,962,492.00.

Number five on Professor Jernigan’s list involved a California landscaping business accused of more than 1 million dollars in fraud. It is alleged that dozens of employees were misclassified as having jobs that were far less dangerous than they actually were. This resulted in artificially low insurance premiums.

Another major problem is when employers intentionally misclassify employees as independent contractors. Workers compensation is supposed to pay for medical care when an accident occurs. If there is no coverage, health insurance and government programs end up with the bill. This results in higher costs for everybody.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a case. We have represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation.

Related information:

Our 2 cents on insurance company fraud
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Collection Agency.

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