Good morning, class, and welcome to Committing Fraud 101, a course where we will teach you the finer points and nuances for committing workers' compensation fraud. This will be a unique class for you, where both the curriculum and your degree will be suitable for framing.
Oh, how I love a good double entendre.
Let's dive right in, shall we? Today, in Lesson One, we will analyze the failed attempt of a fraudulent workers' compensation claim. This was a recent attempt in New Jersey, and I should note it resulted in a criminal charge. This is a very salient point, class. We will cover this more in Chapter Five – “Don't Be a Dumbass: Avoiding Criminal Prosecution,” but the point bears repeating throughout the course. You are here to learn how to commit fraud without getting caught, and above all not to get prosecuted from a failed attempt.
Now, let's take a moment to watch the brief video, and then we will analyze exactly what went wrong with this attempt.
First I will note that this class is subsidized by video commercials - they are an annoyance but they help keep your tuition low. Now, who can tell me what this gentlemen's biggest single mistake was? What would you say was his biggest mistake?
Yes, you are correct. He performed this stunt in front of a security camera. Very good. We must always remember, when committing fraud, the security camera is not your friend. The preferred location for any fraudulent attempt is always away from prying electronic eyes. But let's take this a bit further, shall we? Security cameras and cell phones are ubiquitous today. Let's assume for a moment that he simply could not have staged this incident anywhere other than this particular location. What might he have done differently?
Anyone? How about when he dropped the ice on the floor? If we watch it again, we will see he makes a classic mistake common with the untrained amateur. He looks around to make sure there are no witnesses, which is normally good. But then he pours the ice on the floor in full view of the camera. Had he turned around, blocking the camera's view of his activity with his body, something we call the “Clinton Maneuver” – that will be on your test, by the way - it would make it much harder for investigators to pin anything on him. Now we look at the fall itself. I have to say, this fall is a pitiful fake. This is really where he makes some errors.
It is pretty clear our subject attended the Tori Spelling School of Acting. First, he grabbed the counter to assist him in falling down. He then essentially lays down on the floor. When on camera, you need it to look real, baby. This is not at all convincing. Even though we are faking an injury, some bruising or even blood would go a long way to passing that fake claim. A really good fraudulent effort should not look like you are laying down to take a nap; unless of course part of the fraud is pretending to be overcome by noxious fumes. Clearly that is not the case here.
One final point I should make about this specific incident. This man made a significant error by failing to have audio witnesses. What do I mean by that, class? Yes, an audio witness is someone that hears the accident and can come running to discover you immediately after the staged accident. Reports indicate this man had to lie on the floor for quite some time before someone came along and discovered him. The effort really loses steam when you have to lay there while your ice melts and the water evaporates. An audio witness – someone who was close enough to hear the accident without actually seeing it would be ideal for the fraudulent scenario. Of course, if you try it like this bozo, you would just sound like Tori Spelling trying to act.
And that shtick doesn't fool anybody.
That's all the time we have for today. Be sure to read the second chapter in your textbook, “Strains, Sprains and Automobiles.” We will be covering that in the next class, and there just might be a pop quiz…..
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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Bob is an accomplished speaker for the workers' compensation industry. He is available for conferences, corporate events, children's birthday parties and Bar Mitzvahs. You may access his Speakers Brief here.