North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Policy Analysts Examine Case Out of Montana with Potentially National Implications

April 7, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina workers’ compensation policy analysts and lawyers have been closely following a breaking story out of Butte, Montana involving a Homeland Security worker who attempted to rob Montana’s workers’ compensation out of almost $30,000.

40-year-old Richard Hannum pled guilty last Wednesday, according to the AP, of pretending to have injured his back while working as Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at a Montana airport. Hannum had claimed that he wrenched his back while lifting luggage and that this had caused him to be permanently disabled. But one of his workers’ compensation doctors saw him walking around a mall normally and without pain. The doctor alerted authorities, who followed him and ultimately videotaped him engaging in normal activities – which belied his claim that he was bedridden.

Hannum’s case is interesting, in particular, because it falls under federal jurisdiction. He didn’t collect his money from the Montana workers’ compensation system – he collected directly from the Department of Labor and Homeland Security.

Some North Carolina workers’ compensation fraud cases involve the defrauding of federal coffers as well. But these cases are rarer, and they can be legally more significant.

As this blog has discussed many times, North Carolina workers’ compensation fraud hurts not only the state system, insurers, and employers, but also beneficiaries. When someone steals money from the limited North Carolina workers’ compensation benefit funds, it has a ripple effect. With less money to go around, insurers, employers, and even state and federal overseers of workers’ compensation claims will be more dubious in the future of all claims. This means more invasive investigations and longer wait times before claimants can collect their benefits. So cracking down on North Carolina workers’ compensation fraud is ultimately in everyone’s interest.

That said, if you have been accused of North Carolina workers’ compensation fraud – and you are legitimately hurt – or if you are having trouble with other aspects of your claim, it’s probably a wise move to retain a reliable NC workers’ comp attorney as quickly as possible. A good representative can help you strategize and explain what to do and what not to do when confronting parties like your employer and the responsible insurance company.

More Web Resources:

Richard Hannum

Butte, Montana