Fraud is an ever growing problem within the workers’ compensation system. There are endless accounts of individuals taking advantage of the system to claim benefits to which they are not entitled. Sometimes the person is legitimately injured when the claim is made, however fraud occurs when they continue to collect benefits or claim injury when there is none. When this happens, it costs everyone- including taxpayers who ultimately feel the effect of higher insurance premiums and tax funded programs which often provide care for these fraudsters.
Considering the high cost of these acts of fraud, one might wonder what an appropriate punishment should be for individuals found guilty of committing fraud. Costing billions of dollars annually, fraud is a problem each of us end up paying for at some point in time.
For those who are caught stealing from the system, jail time and restitution appears to be a fair punishment. In the case of Kelly Woods, 1-3 years in prison and almost $45,000 in restitution is the punishment for insurance and workers’ compensation fraud.
If you think this is a severe punishment for something many consider a minor infraction, consider how much money would have been paid out to Woods had she not been caught -$591,762.
With over half a million dollars on the line for one person, it is easy to see how fraud can add up to billions in lost benefits and money. Woods claimed to have a serious neck injury allegedly as the result of work at a New York construction firm. After video footage disproved her claim, Woods fled the state and had to be extradited to receive sentencing for her fraudulent acts.