MA Man Indicted In Theft Of $35,000 In WC Benefits

Boston, MA (CompNewsNetwork) - Today, a Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against a Billerica man for allegedly stealing over $35,000 in workers' compensation disability benefits to which he was not entitled.  William Bertrand, age 54, is charged with Larceny over $250 (2 counts), Workers' Compensation Fraud (4 counts), and Perjury.

The Attorney General's Office began an investigation into Bertrand's alleged activities after a referral was made by the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB). Investigators from the IFB discovered that in July 1997, Bertrand suffered a legitimate injury while working as a heavy equipment operator and began collecting workers' compensation benefits from his employer's insurer, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company (Liberty). Bertrand collected benefits from July 1997 until July 2004, and received a $15,000 lump sum settlement to which he was not entitled in April 2005.  Investigators discovered that between June 2003 and January 2005 Bertrand was allegedly employed, and collected paychecks from four different employers.  Although Bertrand was permitted to earn some income because he received "partial incapacity benefits," he was required to disclose his earnings to Liberty.  Authorities believe that in order to continue collecting benefits, Bertrand informed Liberty that he had not returned to work and allegedly failed to disclose the income he had earned.  He also allegedly filed false earnings reports twice with the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) and Liberty claiming that he had minimal income from self employment.  Because of Bertrand's alleged failure to disclose his earnings and the production of false information to both Liberty and the DIA, Bertrand received over $35,000 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

In addition to the fraud and larceny charges, authorities also allege that Bertrand committed written perjury in 2003 and 2004.  Investigators discovered that between July 2003 and March 2005, while a party in divorce proceedings in the Massachusetts Probate Court, Bertrand allegedly submitted six false earnings reports to the Court in an effort to hide the true amount of his income.

A Suffolk Grand Jury returned indictments against Bertrand today. He is scheduled for arraignment on June 11, 2009, in Suffolk Superior Court.   

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Marina Moriarty and was investigated by Scott Gisetto, both of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division.  Investigators from the IFB also assisted in this case.

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