Thanks Will for alerting us to this pathetic press release from Mr Pearce.
Despite the fraction of prosecutions for fraud ever to be brought against workers compensation fraudsters (simply because the overhwhelming majority of claims are genuine), Mr Pearce has decided to get tough on a minor issue. Add two more cases to the other 8 or so prosecutions in recent years and it doesn’t stack up to the tens of thousands of genuine cases each year.
This, we believe, is a cynical attempt to deflect attention away from the fraud inflicted on injured workers (and taxpayers) by his government. Sadly, the timing of this release is an attempt to perpetuate the myth that most injured workers are playing the system.
MEDIA RELEASE Friday, 3 August 2012 FRAUD SENTENCES SEND A CLEAR MESSAGE
The Minister for Finance and Services Greg Pearce said today sentences handed down to two people for WorkCover fraud worth almost $35,000 send a clear message that this type of deceit will not be tolerated.
A 55 year old woman from the Sydney suburb of Allawah has been fined $6000 and ordered to repay almost $14,000 after pleading guilty to claiming workers compensation payments while holding down two other jobs.
A 48 year old man from Green Point on the Central Coast has been ordered to serve 200 hours of community service and must repay just over $19,000 after pleading guilty to claiming compensation payments whilst employed in other positions.
The Chief Industrial Magistrates Court in Sydney was told both workers had been provided documents that clearly stated their obligations to notify the insurers of any other employment.
Mr Pearce said the penalties send a clear warning to the community that this type of offence is treated seriously by the courts and will not be tolerated.
“This type of deceit is effectively stealing from the taxpayer and from a system designed to help injured workers recover and get back into the workforce as soon as practicable,” he said. “It’s essential and expected that all those who use the WorkCover scheme are honest so it can be affordable and look after those it’s designed to protect.
“These sentences also show the penalties for WorkCover fraud are tough not only for the person convicted but also for their families, as the money has to be paid back.
“WorkCover has a system in place to protect the scheme from this type of fraud and these sentences should serve as a warning to anyone considering cheating the system that it’s just not worth it,” Mr Pearce said.