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01-03-2019-Brisbane

Date 1 March 2019
Charges

1 charge pursuant to Section 533 Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) (WCRA) – Fraud

3 charges pursuant to Section 534(2) WCRA – false or misleading statements

Court Brisbane Magistrates Court
Plea Guilty
Case The worker failed to notify the insurer that he had returned to work and made false statements to the effect that he was totally incapacitated.
Facts

In June 2016 the worker submitted a workers' compensation claim for injuries to their neck and hand sustained as a result of falling off an unsecured ladder at a worksite. The claim was accepted, and the worker was paid compensation and medical expenses for their injuries.

Throughout the claim, the worker claimed that they continued to experience pain and numbness to their left hand and neck, headaches and memory loss. As a result, medical certificates were provided stating that the worker had no capacity for any type of work from 23 June 2016 to 12 January 2017.

In late November 2016 the worker was placed under covert surveillance as a result of an anonymous tipoff.

The surveillance showed the worker attending a medical appointment where they walked normally outside the building while smoking and then put on a noticeable limp as they walked into the building for the appointment. During the appointment the worker told the doctor that they were not working and were unable to undertake even light work.

Surveillance taken on the days following the appointment showed the worker labouring on a building worksite without any evidence of pain or restriction.

When confronted with the evidence, the worker continued to attempt to deceive the insurer by claiming that the person in the surveillance was their twin.

Evidence obtained during the course of the investigation substantiated that the worker had been contracted to install metal frames at the building site and their bank records confirmed that they had also been paid for this work.

Penalty $5,000 fine
Restitution $3,818.70
Costs $25,000
Common Law rights extinguished? Yes
Conviction Recorded
Consideration for Prevention If a worker returns to any form of work (whether paid, unpaid or voluntary) while they are on workers' compensation, they must notify the insurer. A worker must also not be dishonest when asked by an insurer whether they are working.