Paperwork Troubles

46466081 - back pain.

New York state’s Workers’ Compensation Board website has more than 200 forms associated with filing a claim. They range from the initial claimant form that starts the whole process to a proof of death form. A Buffalo man altered a few forms related to his on-the-job injury at a local correctional facility, probably thinking that no one would look too closely at the details. (Considering there were potentially 489,390 workers compensation claims to process in 2017 with a combination of any of the 200+ forms to review for each of those cases, I bet the former correctional officer was counting on the form processors not paying too much attention to the details.) Fortunately for the Compensation Board, someone was paying very close attention to the workers’ compensation fraud scam the man was trying to run.

The former corrections officer, who was previously employed by the Wyoming Correctional Facility, supposedly incurred an injury in December of 2017 and began receiving workers’ compensation benefits the following month. He submitted two forms – the Documentation for Workers’ Compensation Leave form and the Work Release form – complete with signatures from his medical providers. (Both were intended to justify why he could not work.)

This is where the former state employee got into a bit of paperwork trouble. Today’s fraud article does not state what tipped off the investigation, but revealed that the documents submitted were altered versions. (I’d be willing to bet that his medical providers did not agree with his claim of being unable to work.) The altered workers’ compensation forms enabled the man to collect $4,268.69 in undeserved benefits over six months.

The 31-year-old fraudster pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud for stealing more than $4,000 in indemnity benefits he did not deserve through the submission of fraudulent paperwork. (Obviously, he was deemed unfit for public service and subsequently submitted his resignation. He also paid back the amount of money he stole from the Compensation Board). Further research shows that the man was sentenced to a conditional discharge. (In New York, this means that the defendant cannot get arrested for another crime within one year of being convicted.)

One would think that by guarding prisoners, the former correctional officer would have an inside view on what it’s like to be punished for committing a crime. (You would also think that his on-the-job experience would be a huge motivation for not committing a crime.) This young man from Buffalo was fortunate enough to get a break for making such a blatant and deliberate mistake. (While he got off easy this time, you can be sure that if he ever attempts another crime, his paperwork troubles will follow him for the rest of his life in the form of a rap sheet.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on the article, “Corrections officer pleads guilty in workers compensation fraud case,” published by The Daily News Online on April 12, 2019.  

BUFFALO — A former corrections officer at Wyoming Correctional Facility has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $4,000 in benefits through fraudulent paperwork.

Brendon Clontz, 31, of Buffalo pleaded guilty to misdemeanor larceny and submitted proof of his resignation from state service Thursday in Wyoming County Court, according to state Workers’ Compensation Fraud Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.