On 15 May 2010 the worker lodged an Application for Compensation. The claim was accepted and benefits were paid over a period from 15 April 2010 to 8 April 2011.
A tip off was received alerting WorkCover that the worker was working. Further investigations revealed that the worker was employed by a labour hire agency as a truck driver which was the same as his pre-injury position for the period 4 January 2011 to 8 April 2011 (the offending period).
The worker failed to disclose to WorkCover pursuant to section 136 of the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (the 'Act') that he had returned to employment and engaged in a calling as a truck driver during a period of his statutory claim. On some occasions, the worker had worked as a truck driver on a particular day, and then also attended upon doctors to obtain medical certification but failed to disclose any capacity for employment or return to a calling. On other days, the worker had worked as a truck driver, and then specifically spoke with WorkCover's customer advisers but failed to disclose any return to employment.
On 22 July 2013, WorkCover successfully prosecuted the worker for offences committed against section 533 and 535 (Engage in a Calling–Fraud) and section 534 (False and Misleading Statement) against the Act.
The worker initially entered a plea of not guilty and the matter was set for a two-day trial however the worker eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced on 22 July 2013.
Upon sentencing the worker, the Court acknowledged the difficulty in detecting offences of this sort. The Court noted the benefit that the worker had received over the offending period as well as the income received during the offending period.
The worker was convicted and sentenced to serve six months imprisonment for Charge 1 (Fraud – return to a calling) and two months imprisonment in relation to Charge 2 (False and misleading statement to WorkCover), both wholly suspended. The Court also ordered that the worker pay restitution in the sum of $23,353.65 and pay costs.