A District Court Judge has dismissed an appeal and request for bail from a worker who was jailed for defrauding WorkCover by earning thousands of dollars from work while receiving workers’ compensation.
The worker was sentenced in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 23 June 2022 after he pleaded guilty to nine charges including fraud, attempted fraud, and providing false information.
In March 2019, the worker injured his back at work, and was later diagnosed with depression. He submitted a successful workers’ compensation claim for his injury.
The man repeatedly told WorkCover Queensland that he had not worked since his injury.
However, the court heard that the worker received more than $37,000 in payments while working for a passenger rideshare service and food delivery service between March 2019 and December 2019.
The worker also worked at a retail distribution centre, earning more than $35,000 between September 2019 and October 2020, while he was still receiving workers’ compensation payments.
The worker was jailed for 15 months in June 2022, but his sentence was suspended, meaning he will be released after serving five months in prison. The worker also faces deportation to his country of origin, with convictions recorded for all offences.
On 13 August 2022, the Workers’ Compensation Prosecutions Unit received an Application for Bail and a Notice of Appeal from the worker.
The worker argued that his sentence was excessive, that the Magistrate failed to consider the fact he had offered to repay some of the payments he received from WorkCover prior to sentencing, and that he should be released on bail pending the hearing of the appeal.
On 19 August, the bail application and the appeal were heard in the Brisbane District Court. The bail application was denied, and the appeal was dismissed, with the worker ordered to pay the Regulator’s costs.
Her Honour Judge Clare commented that the sentence imposed by the Magistrate was appropriate as the worker “lied over and over in aggressive pursuit of this fraud.”