The case involves a workers’ compensation fraudster who was caught running a fitness studio while receiving workers’ compensation benefits. The individual, identified as Stephanie Carroll, had initially filed a claim for a work-related adjustment disorder that caused stress and anxiety, which led to her receiving weekly compensation payments starting from October 2020.
During a WorkSafe investigation in June 2021, it was discovered that Carroll had assumed control of a lease and franchise for a fitness studio located in Ballarat. In this role, she served as the sole director, operator, and signatory on the business’s bank account.
Importantly, she had not disclosed her involvement in the business to WorkSafe while continuing to receive compensation payments until they were terminated in December 2021.
Following the discovery of her fraudulent actions, Carroll was sentenced by the Geelong Magistrates’ Court. The court issued a 12-month community corrections order, including 125 hours of unpaid community work, and ordered her to repay WorkSafe $59,001 in restitution, in addition to $2,000 in costs.
WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Insurance, Roger Arnold, emphasized the seriousness of workers’ compensation fraud and its detrimental impact on the support provided to genuinely injured workers. Fraudulent actions divert essential resources and funding from those in legitimate need, thereby posing a threat to the integrity of the entire workers’ compensation scheme.
After pleading guilty to fraudulently obtaining payments, a former crane driver who was operating a fitness studio while receiving workers’ compensation will have to repay $61,000.
From October 2020 onwards, Stephanie Carroll, aged 29, started receiving weekly compensation payments due to her claim for a work-related adjustment disorder that led to stress and anxiety.
In June 2021, a WorkSafe investigation discovered that Ms. Carroll had assumed control of a lease and franchise for a fitness studio in Ballarat. She served as the sole director, operator, and signatory on the business’s bank account.
Ms. Carroll failed to inform WorkSafe about her operation of the business and continued to receive payments until they were terminated in December 2021.
The Geelong Magistrates’ Court imposed a sentence of a 12-month community corrections order on her, which includes 125 hours of unpaid community work. Additionally, she was ordered to make restitution of $59,001 to WorkSafe and pay an additional $2000 in costs.
Roger Arnold, the Executive Director of Insurance at WorkSafe, emphasized that those who engage in workers’ compensation fraud should understand that it is a grave offense with severe repercussions.
The WorkSafe scheme plays a critical role in providing essential support to injured workers. Individuals who defraud the system divert funds and resources from genuinely deserving injured workers, jeopardizing the integrity of the entire scheme.
Source : insurancenews.com.au