On April 16, 2021, the California Department of Insurance issued a press release announcing workers’ compensation fraud charges against Ahmad Zaki Noori, a 41-year-old man from Sacramento. Mr. Noori is facing felony charges after allegedly knowingly misrepresenting a workplace injury in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Here, our Fresno workers’ compensation defense attorneys provide a more thorough overview of the charges and California’s workers’ compensation fraud laws.
Workers’ Compensation Fraud Charges: Sacramento Employee Misrepresented Head Injury
The California Department of Insurance states that Mr. Noori worked as a welder in the Sacramento area. In the Summer of 2019, he suffered an on-the-job injury. Among other things, Mr. Noori suffered a blow to the head and sustained contusions on other parts of his body. As was his legal right, he filed a workers’ compensation claim and began receiving medical coverage and financial benefits. State authorities report that Mr. Noori represented his injuries as severe. Symptoms included:
● Difficulty speaking; and
● Substantial interruption with activities of daily living.
However, an investigation into the employee revealed major inconsistencies in his story. The California Department of Insurance went as far as launching an undercover surveillance investigation. They allegedly observed Mr. Noori walking, talking, and driving normally—these were all things that the employee claimed were impossible due to the extent of his head injury. Mr. Noori allegedly received more than $20,000.00 in unwarranted workers’ compensation benefits and his employer/the insurer paid more than $60,000.00 in unnecessary costs.
Workers’ Compensation Fraud May be Charged as a Misdemeanor or Felony Criminal Violation
Workers’ compensation fraud is a serious problem. Not only does it cause employers and insurers to pay substantial additional costs—which drive up premiums—but it also undermines the overall trust in the system. In California, workers’ compensation fraud can be charged as a criminal offense. Depending on the specific nature of the allegations, workers’ compensation fraud may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Some examples of conduct that could be charged as workers’ compensation fraud include:
● Knowingly making false statement or material misrepresentations in order to obtain a workers’ compensation benefit;
● Aiding and abetting a fellow employee’s workers’ compensation fraud scheme; and
● Medical providers submitting false information or false billing records to insurers or claims administrators.
A misdemeanor workers’ compensation fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail. A felony workers’ compensation fraud conviction could carry up to five years in jail. In either circumstance, the defendant will also face significant financial penalties, including payment of restitution to the affected parties.
Contact Our California Workers’ Compensation Defense Lawyer Today
At Yrulegui & Roberts, our California workers’ compensation defense attorneys are committed to delivering top quality, results-centered representation to clients. If you have questions about defending a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim, we are ready to help. Contact us today for a completely private initial consultation. With offices in Fresno, Bakersfield, and Sacramento, our workers’ compensation defense team represents clients throughout the region, including in Stockton, San Jose, and Santa Barbara.