MA Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced for Fraudulently Collecting More Than $53,000 in Benefits While Working
Fall River, MA (WorkersCompensation.com) - An Attleboro man has pleaded guilty and has been sentenced on charges he fraudulently collected more than $53,000 in workers' compensation benefits while working, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
“This defendant collected workers' compensation benefits while continuing to work in violation of the law,” AG Coakley said. “The investigation and prosecution of these crimes are important to preventing the increase of premiums as the result of fraud.”
“This type of insurance fraud, working while collecting Workers Comp, is unfortunately not an isolated case. The Insurance Fraud Bureau vigorously investigates these types of cases, because they represent double-dipping, and can have a devastating effect on honest employers who pay the premiums to protect their employees,” said Daniel Johnston, Executive Director of the Insurance Fraud Bureau. “Today there are over 80 similar cases under investigation by the Insurance Fraud Bureau in the state, and we work closely with the Attorney General on all of them.”
Dennis Gabriel, 57, pleaded guilty to the charges of Workers' Compensation Fraud and Larceny Over $250. After the plea was entered Superior Court Judge Robert Kane sentenced Gabriel to two years probation and ordered him to pay full restitution. Gabriel must also serve 100 hours of community service for each probationary year, 20 hours of which participating in the program “Changing Lives Through Literature.”
State and federal law requires claimants of injury related benefits to periodically make certain disclosures that may include but are not limited to the certification of their employment status, condition of health, and report any earnings while receiving compensation.
Gabriel suffered a work related injury in August 2005 while employed on a construction site. In September 2007 the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) ruled that Gabriel was eligible to receive temporary total disability benefits from his employer's insurance company beginning in June 2007 through February 2009.
In June 2008, the insurance company received an anonymous tip that Gabriel was working as a subcontractor in Rhode Island while collecting workers' compensation benefits. Further investigation revealed that in July 2008 Gabriel signed Employee Earnings Reports (EER) stating that he did not receive any income while working as a subcontractor.
Gabriel earned more than $62,000 from April 2007 through November 2008 while working as a subcontractor and collecting workers' compensation benefits. As a result of his failure to report earnings Gabriel fraudulently collected more than $53,000 in workers' compensation benefits.
A Bristol County Grand Jury returned indictments against Gabriel on March 29, 2013. He was arraigned on April 22, 2013 in Bristol Superior Court where he pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Gabriel pleaded guilty and was sentenced Wednesday.
In 2013, AG Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division (IUFD) recovered more than $1.4 million in restitution for the state. The IUFD works to protect consumers and the integrity of the insurance system by investigating and prosecuting those who commit fraud against all types of insurers, including the Commonwealth's unemployment insurance and workers' compensation systems.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General April English of AG Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from investigators from the Attorney General's Office and the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts.
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