Monroe County Man Paints Tight Spot On Fraud Charges

New York, NY (CompNewsNetwork) - A Monroe County man in prison on unrelated charges may have painted himself into a tighter corner now that he's been charged with committing fraud against the New York State Insurance Fund for allegedly lying about his ability to work in a 2007 workers' compensation hearing.

Tony Arnold, 46, of Rochester, NY, faces felony charges of offering a false instrument for filing, insurance fraud, grand larceny, violating the New York State Workers' Compensation Law and perjury following his arrest on January 27.

The NYS Department of Correctional Services transported Mr. Arnold from the Clinton Correctional Facility, where he was being held on unrelated charges, to his arrest and arraignment in Monroe County Court by Monroe County ADA Matthew Dunham.

On May 7, 2007, Mr. Arnold testified under oath at a Workers' Compensation Board hearing in Rochester, NY, that he had not worked anywhere since the date of his accident. He also returned signed statements to NYSIF that he had not returned to any form of work.

Investigators from NYSIF's Division of Confidential Investigations said Mr. Arnold received more than $13,000 in workers' compensation benefits to which he was not entitled while claiming to be unable to work.

Mr. Arnold was employed by Mac Stringer Painting in Ontario, NY, when he filed his claim for benefits, saying he injured his back, left shoulder and knee after falling from a ladder on June 20, 2006.

The investigation, however, conducted in cooperation with the New York State Insurance Department Frauds Bureau and the Office of the Workers' Comp. Board Fraud Inspector General, revealed that just one month after his accident, in July 2006, Mr. Arnold allegedly received payment for painting a house in Webster, NY.

"New York State has a tough anti-fraud policy," NYSIF Executive Director David P. Wehner said. "Working in conjunction with law enforcement authorities and other New York state agencies, NYSIF has one of the best fraud investigation units in New York. If you commit workers' compensation fraud in New York State, you're up against a formidable system to put a stop to your crime."

Investigators said Mr. Arnold was observed working at the house on a painting job for which he received two checks totaling $1,400 from the homeowner.

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

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