Lawyer Arraigned For Allegedly Stealing $120,000 In WC Survivor Benefits

Boston, MA (CompNewsNetwork) - Today, a Worcester-based attorney was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court in connection with fraudulently collecting workers' compensation survivor benefits that he received after the death of his first wife. Herman Bayless, age 50, of Brookfield, is charged with Workers' Compensation Insurance Fraud and Larceny over $250.  Bayless entered a plea of not guilty in front of Clerk Magistrate Gary Wilson, and was subsequently released on personal recognizance.

In November 2007, the Attorney General's Office began an investigation after the matter had been referred by the Department of Correction (DOC).  In 2001, Bayless began collecting workers' compensation benefits after his first wife died.  His former wife was a corrections officer injured in the line of duty and received workers' compensation benefits over several years.  Following her death, Bayless was entitled to collect her benefits as her surviving spouse until he remarried. Investigators discovered in early 2007 that Bayless had remarried in July 2004, but had allegedly failed to notify the DOC of his change in marital status. Authorities believe that Bayless purposefully failed to notify the DOC in order to continue collecting the survivor benefits.  In 2007, after investigators from the DOC discovered that Bayless had remarried, the DOC applied to the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) for permission to terminate Bayless' survivor benefits.  The DOC then referred the matter to the Attorney General's Office for further investigation.  Authorities allege that Bayless collected nearly $120,000 in benefits during the period of July 2004 through October 2007, which he was no longer entitled to receive. Bayless maintains his own law practice that includes, among other areas, workers' compensation law. 

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Bayless on May 21, 2009.  Today, he was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court where he pled not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. He is due back in court on August 19, 2009, for a pre-trial conference.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General William Freeman of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division. Supervising Counsel Robin Borgstedt from the Department of Correction Legal Department also assisted in this case.

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