A series of criminal actions announced this month by both State and Federal authorities demonstrate the criminal justice system is taking workers' comp fraud seriously in Texas. The following are a few of the recent actions which seek to end the practice of double-dipping, i.e., earning unreported post-injury wages while collecting workers' compensation indemnity benefits based on an inability to work.
- Texas workers' compensation claimant Gary Hunt was convicted and recently sentenced by a Travis County District Court for a "double-dipping" scam. Mr. Hunt alleged he was injured in the course and scope of employment for employer Reliant Plumbing Services, Inc., and filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits with the employer's carrier, Texas Mutual. Texas Mutual paid indemnity benefits to Mr. Hunt based on his inability to work as a result of the alleged compensable injury. As it turns out, Mr. Hunt could -- and did -- work as a comfort counselor earning wages without reporting those wages to the Carrier. The TDI-DWC prosecutor embedded in the Travis County District Attorney's office prosecuted the case and obtained the Class A misdemeanor conviction and sentence of 1 year deferred adjudication.
- John E. Carroll, a federal workers' compensation claimant, was convicted and sentenced by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas (Waco) of collecting federal benefits while working and earning wages in Botswana. Mr. Carroll was sentenced to 8 months home confinement and 1 year of probation.
- Christopher Colligan, a truck driver from Baytown, was also prosecuted by the TDI-DWC prosecutor in Travis County. Mr. Colligan alleged he was injured while driving a truck for his insured employer. The carrier, Texas Mutual, paid indemnity benefits to Mr. Colligan based on his inability to work. Of course, Mr. Colligan was able to work. While continuing to collect benefits, Mr. Colligan began driving for another trucking company and earning wages. This double-dipper was convicted of a Class A misdemeanor and sentenced to 1 year probation. Restitution to the carrier was also ordered.
System participants can learn more about how to report fraud to the DWC Fraud Unithere
- Copyright 2018, Dan Price
, Stone Loughlin & Swanson, LLP