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12-02-2018-Brisbane

Date 12 February 2018
Charges

Charge 1 – Section 533 Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) (WCRA) – Fraud

Charge 2 – Section 136 Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) – Failure to notify the insurer of an engagement in a calling within 10 business days

Charge 3 to 6 – Section 534 Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) – Providing false or misleading information/statements.

Court Brisbane Magistrates Court
Plea Plea of Guilty to all charges
Case The worker committed fraud over a period of approximately six months, with the worker engaging in a calling as a motorcycle rider trainer and assessor while receiving compensation benefits and obtaining benefits to which the worker was not entitled.
Facts

The initial Application for Compensation that the worker lodged with the insurer contained a warning that the worker agreed to advise the insurer if their circumstances or employment status changed during the claim.

During the entire period of the statutory claim, the worker claimed that they had either no capacity for any type of work, or only limited capacity restricted to administration duties.

When the worker was specifically asked by a WorkCover Customer Advisor if they had returned to a calling, the worker denied this.

The worker only stopped receiving workers’ compensation benefits because the insurer was given an anonymous tip-off that the worker was working while receiving compensation benefits.

A substantial amount of money was obtained by the worker on the basis of their claimed total incapacity and/or restricted incapacity for work.

The fraud charge was constituted by the worker’s failure to notify the insurer within 10 business days of an engagement in a calling while receiving compensation payments, without a reasonable excuse. Section 535 of the Act deems failure to notify the insurer of this return to work to be fraud.

The charge under section 136 relates to the worker’s failure to notify the insurer of his engagement in a calling within 10 business days while receiving compensation payments.

The fraud was compounded by the commission of the section 534 offences of providing false or misleading information.

One charge under section 534 relates to a conversation where the worker provided false or misleading information to an employee of the insurer in which they:

  1. Denied working in their business during the period when they were receiving compensation payments; and
  2. asserted that they had not done any work for another employer since December 2016.

Three charges under section 534 related to numerous consultations the worker had with their General Practitioner where the worker provided false or misleading information about pain levels and physical restrictions that resulted in the doctor issuing workers’ compensation medical certificates assessing the worker’s capacity for work as restricted.

Penalty

The worker was sentenced:

  • to 6 months imprisonment wholly suspended for 2 years on the fraud charge; and
  • 3 months imprisonment wholly suspended for a period of 2 years on the first section 534 charge; and
  • 4 months imprisonment on each of the further section 534 charges, wholly suspended for a period of 2 years.

The worker had a conviction recorded on the section 136 charge.

Restitution $26,021.96
Costs $14,409.30
Common Law rights extinguished? Yes
Conviction Recorded
Consideration for Prevention

A worker should notify the insurer if they continue to work or return to work while receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

A worker 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.

Last updated
20 June 2018

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