(WKTV)18 people have been arrested, including four local residents, in a statewide crackdown on workers compensation fraud, according to the New York State Department of Financial Services.
Arrests were made in Albany, Schenectady, Erie, Onondaga, Oneida, Ulster, Otsego, Oswego, Warren, Chenango, Tompkins, Broome and Clinton counties.
The suspects are accused of pocketing tens of thousands of dollars in workers compensation checks for phony injuries or working at another job while collecting the checks for an injury.
Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky says Friday the fraud drives up the rates for employers and taxpayers.
The crackdown by his office, the state Inspector General’s Office, the Workers Compensation Board and other agencies
Aaron McElhinney, 26, of Vernon, is accused of collecting $11,600 in benefits from Chartis Insurance Company after falsely reporting that he suffered a work-related injury. Investigators found that he told his girlfriend and her mother that he was going to fake the injury so he could go to Florida. Co-workers corroborated that he did not hurt himself. He is charged with insurance fraud in the third degree and workers’ compensation fraud.
William Ellis, 43, of Utica, admitted working for a construction company from 2004 through 2007 doing roofing, siding, plumbing and masonry while collecting $15,000 in benefits from NYSIF for an injury he suffered while working for a paving and excavating company in 1993.
William O’Neil, 30, of Rome, is accused of collecting $1,790 in benefits from 21st Century North American Insurance Company while working for a moving company. He was collecting benefits after suffering an injury while working as a carpenter. He is also accused of giving false testimony at a workers’ compensation hearing and causing a false independent medical examination report to be prepared and filed as part of his claim. He is charged with perjury in the first degree and workers’ compensation fraud.
Susan Gridley, 61, of Schuyler Lake, started collecting benefits after an injury she sustained while working at a horse farm in 1986. She later failed to disclose on work activity reports submitted to the NYSIF that she was working as horse boarder and trainer while collecting $4,700 in benefits.