Comp. Recipient Allegedly Caught on Camera Cutting Trees

New York, NY (CompNewsNetwork) - An Erie County man who claimed to be injured lifting a heavy entry guide in his former occupation is allegedly the subject of a half dozen workers' compensation fraud surveillance videos showing him strong enough to cut down trees.

Jonathan G. Stiegler, 46, of Blasdell, NY, faces felony charges of offering a false instrument for filing, insurance fraud, grand larceny and violation of the Workers' Compensation Law following his arrest by New York State Police on December 4.

Investigators from the New York State Insurance Fund Division of Confidential Investigations said surveillance allegedly showed Mr. Stiegler self-employed as a tree cutter on no fewer than six occasions between September 2006 and May 2007 doing business under the name Stiegler's Tree Service.

Mr. Stiegler was receiving workers' compensation benefits for a work-related injury at that time of his arrest. In 2004, he claimed he sprained his lower back while working as a stand builder for Republic Engineered Products when lifting a stand entry guide to install a rest bar. Since then, he allegedly returned signed statements to NYSIF indicating he had not returned to work.

"Working beyond the limits of your disability while collecting workers' compensation wage replacement benefits is a deliberate attempt to deceive the system by committing fraud," NYSIF Executive Director David P. Wehner said. "NYSIF is aggressive in our pursuit of all types of workers' compensation fraud, including frauds of this nature."

Investigators said surveillance showed Mr. Stiegler receiving payment of $550 on at least one occasion for cutting trees at a private residence. As a result of his arrest, the potential future savings on Mr. Stiegler's claim was estimated to be $202,813.

The arrest was the result of a joint investigation by NYSIF Division of Confidential Investigations, the New York State Insurance Department Frauds Bureau and the Office of the Workers' Compensation Board Fraud Inspector General.

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

Read More

Request a Demo

To request a free demo of one of our products, please fill in this form. Our sales team will get back to you shortly.