|24 January 2020
1 charge pursuant to Section 533 Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) (WCRA) – Fraud
18 charges pursuant to Section 534 WCRA – Providing false or misleading information
|Brisbane Magistrates Court
|Plea of Guilty
|The worker was charged in relation to fraudulently obtaining workers’ compensation by claiming that he had sustained a psychological injury as a result of a robbery during the course of his employment, when the robbery was staged by the worker and two accomplices.
The worker was employed as a sales assistant at a convenience store. They made a claim for workers’ compensation on 12 July 2013 claiming to have suffered a psychological injury as a result of being held up at knifepoint during a robbery at the store on 7 July 2013.
The worker claimed that they were getting ready to take the garbage bin out at around 7:30pm when someone suddenly came to the store, grabbed them and demanded that they open the safe. The worker claimed that the robber held a knife to their neck while forcing them to open the safe. They claimed that the stranger then threw the money into a bag and left the store.
The claim was accepted, and the worker began receiving compensation for the period beginning 8 July 2013. Payments continued throughout 2014 and 2015 until the claim was finalised in September 2015 when the worker accepted an offer of lump sum compensation.
Throughout the claim, the worker relayed the details of the claimed robbery to the insurer and to the various medical professionals who were treating and assessing them.
The worker continued fabricating psychological symptoms related to the robbery to various people including that:
Some 21 months after the claim was finalised, the Queensland Police Service (QPS) notified the insurer that the robbery was in fact staged and that the worker and two others had planned for the others to wear a disguise, enter the business and pretend to rob the worker at knifepoint.
The QPS charged the worker with the offences of “stealing by clerks and servants” and “making a false declaration”. The worker admitted to their involvement in the staged robbery and those admissions, coupled with their plea of guilty to the QPS charges, served as incontrovertible evidence that the workers’ compensation claim had been made fraudulently.
Fraud charge - 18 months imprisonment with immediate release on parole.
18x False or misleading information charges – for each charge, 3 months imprisonment with immediate release on parole.
|Common Law rights extinguished?
|Consideration for Prevention
|The workers’ compensation scheme is there to assist workers who are genuinely injured, and workers should not seek to undermine this system by fraudulently claiming workers’ compensation for injuries that did not occur.