Ohio Fraud Case Puts North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Scam Artists on Notice

May 27, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you’ve recently been injured, and you need to collect North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits – or you’re a healthy individual who’s concerned with the North Carolina’s fiscal state, you want to stamp out workers’ comp fraud. When someone – or some company or institution – steals money from the North Carolina workers’ compensation system, you suffer, and the state in general suffers.

Often, the indirect effects are the most insidious.

Breaking news out of Ohio illustrates the seriousness of this crime. According to woio.com – an action news team based out of Ohio – On April 29th, a man named Luiz Paneto pled guilty to a fourth degree felony for defrauding the Ohio workers’ comp system. Paneto was ordered to pay over $24,000 in restitution and nearly $20,000 in investigative costs.

In 2001, Paneto got hurt at work while performing a general contracting service. Shortly thereafter, he began to collect living maintenance and temporary total disability benefits. In 2007, he was granted permanent total disability.

In 2009, however, the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation’s Special Investigations Department received a tip off that Paneto had been doing home remodeling and labor – the same heavy work that he had being doing prior to his 2001 injury.

Per www.woio.com: “[the special investigations department] conducted surveillance and Paneto was seen walking, lifting heavy construction materials, driving his truck, and performing work as a home remodeler… in April 2010 [he] admitted to working in violation of his receipt of BWC benefits.”

Now look: $43,000 is not a tremendous amount of money, especially when you consider the millions of dollars that flow through the North Carolina workers’ compensation system every year.

But every case of fraud essentially pokes holes in people’s trust in the system. Stopping fraud is more than about simply preventing funds from being siphoned off. When fraud happens, suspicion ratchets up, and the system degrades.

If you or someone you care about has been dealing with a benefits issue – or an uncooperative insurer or employer – leverage the resources of a North Carolina workers’ compensation firm today to get results.

More Web Resources:

Luiz Paneto fraud