The temptation for a quick and easy payout is tempting for many, even when it involves workers’ compensation fraud. A Fort Lauderdale employee, Sheyla Veronica White, let that temptation get the better of her. She ended up with no payout, and 18 months probation.
Ms. White was sitting at her desk when a sprinkler head fell from the ceiling and landed on her desk. Surprised, she picked the item off her desk, looked at it, then gave a quick visual scan around the office. No one appeared to see the incident? Good. She took the sprinkler head and whacked her forehead with it. Presto! Workers’ Comp claim.
But, not so fast. The company she worked for became suspicious and referred the case to the Florida Division of Investigative and Forensic Services. Agents from the Division looked at security camera videos and were easily able to determine exactly what happened – Ms. White staged the ‘accident.’
As a result, Ms. White was convicted of workers’ compensation insurance fraud, a third degree felony. She received a sentence of 18 months probation. She did not have to pay restitution as the truth of the injury was determined prior to any benefits being paid out.
Watch security video of the staged injury:
Phoenix’s Fox 10 spoke with Lt. Doreen Rivera of Florida’s Department of Financial Services’ Fraud Division. Rivera indicated that although faking injuries is common, employees are not the only ones who try to bilk the insurance system.
Employers also commit workers’ comp fraud. Rivera indicated that it is not uncommon for companies to lie about the number of employees they have and the level of risk involved in the work of their employees, in order to avert paying the correct amount of insurance premiums.
Workers’ comp fraud is a big problem in many states. The Florida state legislature has introduced bills this session that would make changes to the state’s workers’ compensation system, as Florida businesses are facing an almost 15% rate increase, with fraud likely playing a substantial role.
Insurance fraud is a big problem. When it happens in the arena of workers’ compensation, it results in increased insurance premiums, which affects businesses and people. Even in this era of ubiquitous cameras that seemingly catch everything on tape, some people still try to make a quick buck.
The downside of getting caught is just not worth it, as Sheyla Veronica White embarrassingly found out!