N.Y. Arrests Six on Workers’ Comp Fraud Charges

May 21, 2003

Nassau District Attorney Denis Dillon, the New York State Insurance Department, the State Insurance Fund and the Inspector General of the Workers’ Compensation Board jointly announced the arrest of six individuals for insurance fraud resulting in the theft of thousands of dollars. All of them are charged with making claims for benefits to which they were not entitled.

Dillon explained that five of the defendants “sought to steal from Workers’ Compensation – and ultimately from all honest business people, working people and consumers – by lying about their employment status. A sixth defendant illegally sought reimbursement for pharmacy bills which had actually been paid by her insurer.”

Milagros Perryman of Elmont is charged with the single largest alleged theft. The NYSID Bulletin said she fraudulently collected over $42,000 in Workers Compensation benefits. “Perryman, 47, a registered nurse at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola began receiving benefits after being injured at work in November 1993. In April 2000, however, she returned to work at Winthrop, earning $57,000 over the next 14 months,” said the announcement.

Investigators determined that between 1998 and 2002 she also worked at three other hospitals. Her last employment was at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City where she was employed full time from September 9 to December 5, 2002, at a base annual salary of $85,000. She did not report any of this employment to the State Insurance Fund, as she was required to do. Instead she continued to claim, on numerous forms filed with the State Insurance Fund, that she was not working at all. As a result, she continued to collect Workers Compensation benefits to which she was no longer entitled.

She is charged with one count each of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree, both Class D Felonies punishable by up to 7 years in prison; and one count each of Workers Compensation Fraud and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, both Class E Felonies punishable by up to 4 years in prison.

The bulletin also gave details of the other persons arrested, which are summarized as follows:
— Giuseppe LaFata, 34, of East Meadow, an injured construction worker, continued to collect $1500 a month in benefits, totaling $26,000, after he returned to his $1100 a week construction job.
— Frederick Schwarz, 53, of Wantagh received benefits for over a year following an injury on a loading dock. Investigators, however, found that he worked during the time that he claimed to be disabled.
— Noreen Gruber Kain, 47, formerly of Port Washington, was injured in August 1998 and received benefit checks over the next five years. The investigation found she was earning $350 a week at Keystrokes Plus in New York City, and had then taken another job.
— Marie Carrai, 36, of Levittown, a manager at McDonald’s, received “Permanent Partial Disability” benefits following an injury, and claimed she was no longer working, while in fact she had a job at another restaurant.
— Susan Harabedian, 59, of Syosset, a registered nurse, was injured on the job in March 1999 and began receiving disability payments from the State Insurance Fund. Her claims for pharmacy expenses are alleged to be fraudulent, as she had received reimbursement for them from her insurer.

“The brazen actions of these individuals show their complete disregard for the law, “stated New York State Insurance Department Superintendent Gregory V. Serio. “These fraudsters are our neighbors – nurses, store clerks, and fast food employees who decide to lie under oath and take money from the workers’ compensation system established to help individuals who are legitimately injured.”

He also noted that this was the second time this yea that the NYSID cooperated with the Nassau County DA’s office in fraud related arrests. All of the defendants were reportedly arraigned yesterday in First District Court, Hempstead. The bulletin noted that “the charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.”

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