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You Shouldn't Have To Fight For Workers' Comp Benefits

Ex-county official charged with embezzling workers' comp system

One of the most common complaints heard from business people in Bucks County and the rest of the country is that the costs of required insurance coverage such as workers' compensation are out of control. Medical costs are out of control. Fraudulent workers' compensation claims are out of control.

Such complaints, and just the need for proper due diligence, are reasons why risk managers are in demand. Whether they work for businesses or governments, risk managers are enlisted to find ways to reduce risk, limit benefits, and thus save money. A lot of trust may be placed in the people who hold such positions.

A former risk manager in Dauphin County allegedly did not live up to that trust. The 58-year-old official reportedly retired from his position for health reasons back in June 2012 after some 11 years in his job. Not long ago, prosecutors accused of using his position to defraud the workers' compensation system out of nearly $500,000. He's now facing formal charges that could lead to his serving jail time if he's convicted.

According to the official documents, over the course of about five years, the regulator allegedly submitted invoices from a fake risk management company he had set up. Some of the invoices went through a third-party insurer. Others were sent right to the county. The official allegedly approved payments which then went to the shell operation.

The man charged has refused to comment publicly about the case, but police investigators who interviewed him say he admitted to the scheme and said he did it to pay credit card debt and medical bills he'd incurred because of his health troubles.

Not surprisingly, the developments in this case have prompted other local officials to raise alarms. They're now vowing to audit the system to find all the potential holes in controls and to close them.

Navigating the workers' compensation maze can be a difficult task. Events such as this one, which spark stepped up controls, only make that process harder. The frustration of dealing with the process is likely the last thing a Pennsylvania worker who has suffered a workplace injury needs. The help of an experienced workers' compensation attorney may ease some of the tension.

Source: The Patriot-News, "Ex-Dauphin County insurance manager charged in $490,000 scam against county," Matt Miller, Nov. 28, 2012

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