Beware of Wayward Cantaloupes
A former Los Angeles Unified School District Police officer was arrested for workers’ compensation fraud for inflating work-related injuries caused by a “wayward cantaloupe.” While patrolling a school campus on his bicycle, the officer ran over the cantaloupe and lost control of his bicycle.
He originally claimed that he injured his right knee, foot and hand. But later, after hiring an attorney, he changed his claim to add injuries to his back, hips and both knees.
The officer denied any prior medical injury; however, subpoenaed medical records indicated that the officer did in fact sustain prior injury to those same body parts. The Department of Insurance (DOI) alleges this was a knowing misrepresentation of information about his claim. Workers’ compensation fraud is a crime which can be punished by jail or prison time and fines.
The DOI stepped in, and the officer’s permanent disability rating was changed. According to the DOI’s press release, this prevented the officer from unfairly receiving approximately an additional $15,000 in permanent disability benefits. According to Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones,” [e]very year millions of dollars are lost to workers’ compensation fraud.”
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