A man in Trinity, Florida will have to repay $123,434.89 of workers compensation benefits in addition to serving five years in probation for defrauding the Department of Labor. District Judge James D. Whittemore handed down the sentence following a guilty plea on March 23rd, 2018 from Gary W. Rochevot.
Following a work-related injury in 2004 while working at the Orlando International Airport, Rochevot participated in the Department of Labor’s Office of Worker’s Compensation Program’s (OWCP) long-term periodic role starting in February of 2005.
As part of this program, Mr. Rochevot received approximately $5,500 each month. Remaining eligible for the program required Mr. Rochevot to submit CA-Form 1032 each year. The Department of Labor uses the answers to the questions when determining whether an adjustment to benefits is required. The form warns individuals responding to it that false or misleading statements can result in civil liability and that fraudulent responses can result in criminal charges.
When filing in September 2016, Rochevot indicated on the form that he did not engage in volunteer activity during the prior fifteen months. This answer was false.
During the timeframe in question, Rochevot had worked as a cart driver and greeter for a hospital. Federal agents also witnessed him performing physical labor that included automobile repair and heavy lifting.
According to the DOJ, Rochevot also provided false answers to direct questions about his health from investigators.
It is important to fully consider responses and answers given to federal agencies and investigators when requesting compensation as part of programs such as workers compensation or social security disability (SSD). As this case highlights, these answers can have serious and lasting consequences.
Unfortunately, fraudulent claims for benefits further negative stereotypes related to workers compensation. These stereotypes can discourage individuals with legitimate claims, individuals who need the assistance workers compensation provides, from pursuing a claim.
What should you do about a potential workers compensation claim?
If you suspect that you or a loved one may be entitled to workers compensation, please do not let negative stereotypes prevent you from pursuing the benefits that are available to you. Our office prides itself on assisting individuals determine and defend their legal rights.
Please contact our office, toll free, for an initial consultation by calling 800-435-8778.
Source: Department of Justice