From Soup to Workers Comp Fraud

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Close Up Of Businessman Using Laptop Suffering From Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

Correction Officers have a tough job. They are responsible for keeping incarcerated individuals safe, whether in jail, at a work release or drug treatment center, or in any other type of correctional facility. Hoai Le, 49, of West Hartford, Conn., was allegedly injured while responding to an emergency within the state’s Department of Correction. (Apparently, he became injured while running to an inmate housing unit.) What happened next has Le on the hook for committing workers compensation fraud.

Court records show that in September 2018, while responding to the emergency, Le hurt his upper and lower back. He was placed on Temporary Total Disability status by the state’s workers’ compensation program. (Qualified disabled workers receive money under the program to help with lost wages and medical bills.) 

It’s important to note that to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, the injured worker must not work during the period of time that benefits are provided. If the injured worker improves, they must inform the state, and also disclose any monies earned beyond what benefits are provided by the state. (This is where things get a bit dicey for Le.) 

Between October 8, 2018 and June 26, 2019, Le collected $47,982.12 in workers compensation benefits from Connecticut’s workers’ compensation program. During that same time, he was also managing Pho Delicious, a Vietnamese food restaurant in Longmeadow, Mass. (This is illegal and a perfect example of workers compensation fraud.) By law, he was supposed to inform the state that he was gainfully employed and making money.

Unfortunately for Le, he failed to update the state on his employment status and denied he was working at the restaurant he owned, while collecting benefits. (He lied under oath. That’s never a good thing.) And, it didn’t help that surveillance videos and document examination also disproved Le’s claims.

Le was arrested by inspectors from the Workers Compensation Fraud Control Bureau in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney on a warrant charging him with one count of fraudulent  claim or receipt of benefits, one count of first-degree larceny by defrauding a public community and one count of perjury.

It’s important to remember that Le is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. He has been released on a $35,000 non-surety bond. (It appears that Le’s soup business has him in a bit of hot water.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Connecticut Corrections Officer Charged With Workers’ Comp Fraud,” published by the West Hartford Patch on January 28, 2021.

West Hartford, CT — A West Hartford man is accused of illegally collecting Workers’ Compensation benefits while being employed as a state corrections officer, Connecticut Department of Criminal Justice officials said.

Hoai Le, 49, was arrested by inspectors from the Workers Compensation Fraud Control Bureau in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney on a warrant charging him with one count of fraudulent claim or receipt of benefits, one count of first-degree larceny by defrauding a public community and one count of perjury, according to DCJ officials.

 

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.