Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota announced the arrest of 18 people on charges of grand larceny, insurance fraud and other crimes related to defrauding New York’s State Workers’ Compensation System.
“Those arrested by DA detectives’ include two teachers, a limousine company entrepreneur, a chiropractor and fourteen other Long Island residents,” said the bulletin. Some of those arrested had collected benefit checks, while they were actually working, others knowingly presented false information on workers compensation application forms and four of the defendants face charges for receiving benefits while enjoying unreported sources of income. The bulletin indicated that altogether the accused persons “stole approximately $550,000 from the system,” which Spota described as “a lifeline for working people in our state that provides modest benefits for injured workers who are physically unable to earn an income.”
He said the arrests were made by Suffolk DA detective investigators working with state fraud investigators assigned to the New York State Insurance Department and Superintendent Gregory V. Serio, the State Insurance Fund and CEO Ken Ross and the office of State Workers’ Compensation Fraud Inspector General John Burgher Jr.
The bulletin identified Robert Kaplan, 54, a Shoreham chiropractor, as having profited the most from the fund. He allegedly “received benefit checks because headaches, hypertension and back pain prevented him from earning a living as a chiropractor, which amounted to $273,000 over a 21-month period from 1998 until 2000.” The investigation revealed, however, that his wholly owned company, RMK Management Corp., “collected hundreds of thousand of dollars annually from therapists and other professional tenants leasing space in Kaplan’s “Patient Treatment Center” on Route 25A in Rocky Point.” He faces a charge of second-degree grand larceny, a class C felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Superintendent Serio said the sweep “targeted thieves stealing from individuals who are legitimately unable to work and need workers’ compensation benefits to get by. The unique relationship here in Suffolk County has our New York State Frauds Investigators working side-by-side with District Attorney Tom Spota’s detective investigators – removing insurance crooks from the streets. In fact, this is the second time this month that the department and DA Spota have announced new fraud arrests in Suffolk.” He added that “We remain committed to this strong and effective partnership.”
Insurance Fund CEO Ross, said the amount of money stolen from the workers’ compensation system by those nabbed in the Suffolk sweep shows “why you can see workers’ compensation fraud is a serious crime.” He also indicated that he felt his department “is fortunate to work with District Attorney Spota, who recognizes the billions stolen from consumers and honest businesses annually,” and promised to continue to focus investigations on “the prosecution of frauds by medical providers, business owners and claimants.”
Fraud Inspector Burgher stated: “In these times when New York State is engaged in economic challenges, it is most imperative that we stamp out workers’ compensation fraud. Governor Pataki has made it clear though his common sense anti-fraud initiatives that this kind of deceit will not be tolerated. These arrests send a strong message that if you commit workers’ compensation fraud you will be investigated; you will be caught and meet the same fate as those who were apprehended in this sweep in Suffolk County.”
Further details of those charged as a result of the investigations are available on the NYSID’s Web site at: http://www.ins.state.ny.us/nyins.htm.
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