Felony Charges for Stealing Less Than $4,000 – A Cautionary Tale for North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Beneficiaries

October 10, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Few people dream of committing North Carolina workers’ compensation fraud. But the temptation to “cheat” on your paperwork and collect a little more than you might be legally entitled to can lead to life-changing disasters.

Witness the fate of 31-year-old Patrick Rosenzweig, a New Yorker charged on October 6 with attempting to defraud The New York State Insurance Fund out of $3,973.24. According to a report in a local newspaper, The Wayne Post, “[Rosenzweig] was charged with workers’ compensation fraud, making a fraudulent statement in workers’ compensation insurance applications, offering a false instrument for filing the paperwork and grand larceny.”

Rosenzweig now faces a smattering of felony charges. If convicted of any of them, he could face over a year in jail… all for trying to obtain workers’ comp while he was still working.

What can the Rosenzweig ordeal teach us? First of all, note the cost benefit analysis. Assuming he had gotten away with this alleged scam, he would have collected an extra $4,000. But he didn’t, and he now faces huge fines and possibly significant time behind bars. Assuming he ordinarily made something along the lines of $60,000 a year, and he gets three years of jail for the felonies, he will be out close to $200,000 for committing a crime that would have only netted him around $4,000.

All this is to say that North Carolina workers’ compensation fraud does not pay off.

That being said, one can still be sympathetic and compassionate here. Hurt workers often lack the job training, skills, and resources to make ends meet. If you are a mother of two who got hurt at work – not badly enough to receive workers’ comp, but badly enough to struggle with day-to-day activities – you might be tempted to break the law and lie on your paperwork. The impulse comes from a place of wanting good help. Instead of making reckless, illegal decisions, however, make responsible choices.

For instance, connect with a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm to review your options for getting more compensation or to find other resources to make ends meet.

More Web Resources:

Canandaigua Man Charged with Workers’ Comp Fraud

Making the Most Out of Your Reduced Income