What Is the Crime of Workers’ Compensation Fraud?
A conviction may result in one to five years of imprisonment and $150,000 or more in fines.
The workers’ compensation system is designed to help Californians obtain benefits for injuries that they suffered on the job. It is a no-fault program, which means that employees can obtain medical treatment and other benefits without proving that their employer was at fault for their injury or illness. Workers’ compensation has allowed millions of Californians to get the help that they need without the time or expense of filing a lawsuit against their employer.
Yet as with any system, there are some people who may take advantage of workers’ compensation. Under California law, workers’ compensation fraud is a crime that may be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor offense. If it is charged as a felony, it can result in up to five years in California state prison and a fine of twice the fraud or $150,000 — whichever is greater. The potential seriousness of the penalty for this offense makes it all the more important that you hire an experienced Beverly Hills criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with California workers’ compensation fraud.
Under the law, workers’ compensation fraud can be charged if a person:
- Makes, or causes to be made, a knowingly false or fraudulent material statement or representation for the purpose of obtaining or denying any workers’ compensation benefits;
- Presents, or causes to be presented, a knowingly false or fraudulent written or oral material statement in support of, or in opposition to, a claim for workers’ compensation benefits;
- Knowingly aids or abets or conspires with anyone else to commit any act of workers’ compensation fraud; OR
- Makes or causes to be made a knowingly false or fraudulent statement with regards an entitlement to benefits, with the intent to discourage an injured worker from claiming benefits or pursuing a claim.
While most people may assume that workers’ compensation fraud is only committed by employees seeking to get benefits that they are not entitled to, that is not the case. While this may happen, the law also permits a prosecutor to bring charges against an employer who lies about how a workplace injury occurred to prevent an employee from getting benefits. A doctor who fraudulently bills workers’ compensation for treatments that an injured employee did not receive can also be charged with workers’ compensation fraud.
As a Beverly Hills criminal defense attorney can explain, there are potential legal and factual defenses to the charge of workers’ compensation fraud. For example, if you did not know that a statement was false or did not have an intent to defraud the system, then your Beverly Hills criminal defense attorney can argue that you are not guilty of the crime. If the facts of your medical case are complicated and you may actually be entitled to benefits, your Beverly Hills criminal defense attorney could also make an argument that you did not commit the crime of workers’ compensation fraud.
This is just one of many crimes that may be charged related to fraud for obtaining benefits that you may not be eligible for under California law. If you have been charged with workers’ compensation fraud or a related crime, Perlmutter & Pourshalimi can help. Contact our firm today at 310-295-2236 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free initial consultation with a Beverly Hills criminal defense attorney.