Chenango Man Charged As Fraud In Fish Story

New York, NY (CompNewsNetwork) - A Chenango County fish salesman received more than $60,000 in workers' compensation benefits allegedly while running his own business in a case of workers' compensation fraud against the New York State Insurance Fund.

Edward Panus, 59, of Afton, NY, faces felony charges of violating the Workers' Compensation Law, fraudulent practices and offering a false instrument for filing following his arrest by New York State Police on February 4.

Investigators from NYSIF's Division of Confidential Investigations said Mr. Panus was receiving workers' compensation payments for a work-related back injury that occurred in 1988.

The investigation, conducted in cooperation with the New York State Insurance Department Frauds Bureau and the Office of the Workers' Compensation Fraud Inspector General, found that Mr. Panus was allegedly self-employed as the owner of Ponderosa Fish Farm while receiving benefits totaling $66,100.

"NYSIF's anti-fraud program is among the best in the nation," NYSIF Executive Director David P. Wehner said. "We take fraud investigations seriously and, in conjunction with other agencies and local law enforcement, are committed to aggressively pursuing workers' compensation fraud committed by claimants, policyholders and medical providers."

NYSIF investigators said Mr. Panus had returned signed attestations to NYSIF that he had not returned to any form of work during this time.

Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations only. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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