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Beenleigh, 07 November 2014

Date

07 November 2014

Charges

One charge 1 of fraud

Three charges of false or misleading information or documents

One charge of the worker failing to notify return to work or engagement in a calling

Plea

Guilty

Facts

The worker was employed as a courier driver. The worker submitted an application for compensation with a workers' compensation insurer for injuries sustained to his elbows in the course of his employment. The claim was accepted by the insurer and paid compensation.

Investigations carried out by the insurer and the Office of Industrial Relations revealed the worker had continued to work as a courier driver until the claim was suspended when the insurer become aware that he had been working.

Throughout this period, the worker made false or misleading statements to several medical practitioners to the effect that he was not working.

The worker never advised the insurer that he had been working as a courier driver. The worker did not notify the insurer of his engagement in a calling as required by section 136 of the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.

The total amount of compensation paid during the offence period was $26,841.53.

Penalty

Fraud charge: 6 months imprisonment (wholly suspended for 12 months)

False or misleading statements charges: 2 months imprisonment for each charge (wholly suspended for a period of 12 months)

Failure to notify of engagement in a calling charge: Convicted (no conviction recorded)

Restitution

$26,841.53

Costs

Workers' Compensation Regulators' costs - $3,803.20

Conviction

Recorded

Consideration for Prevention

A worker should notify the insurer if they engage in a calling. That is, they should notify the insurer if they perform any activity giving rise to the receipt of remuneration or reward including self-employment or the performance of an occupation, trade, profession, or carrying on of a business, whether or not the person performing the activity received remuneration.

A worker should be honest about his/her symptoms and capacity to work when speaking to the insurer and/or medical practitioners. This includes the worker's capacity to perform work which is different to the work they were performing when they injured themselves.

If the worker believes they are able to engage in another calling (i.e. not the employment at which they injured themselves) then the worker should notify the insurer. If the insurer has a true understanding of the worker's capacity then they can properly manage the worker's claim.

It may be possible to arrange for the worker to engage in the alternate calling under a host employment arrangement. This allows the worker to perform the alternate calling while still receiving weekly benefits.

Alternatively, if the worker notifies the insurer that they intend to engage in an alternate calling then they may not be entitled to receive weekly benefits, but they might be entitled to receive compensation for medical and rehabilitation expenses.