Four Massachusetts men, including three “Big Dig” workers, were indicted last week in unrelated cases for allegedly receiving workers’ compensation payments totaling more than $300,000 while holding down other jobs, Attorney General Tom Reilly announced.
The indictments were brought in separate cases by a Suffolk County Grand Jury against the four men on one count each of workers’ comp fraud and larceny over $250. The men indicted were:
Scott Taylor, 38, of Holbrook
Allen Sembler, 37, of Tewksbury
Jeffrey Peacock, 45, of East Sandwich
John Stanton, 42, of Norwell (also indicted on one count of perjury)
All four indictments were brought as a result of investigations conducted by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).
Taylor was employed as a carpenter for Perini/Kiewit/Cashman on August 31, 2000 when he allegedly injured his left thumb while working on the Central Artery Project. Shortly after his alleged injury, Taylor filed a workers’ comp claim with the National Union Fire Insurance Company, a subsidiary of the American International Group (AIG).
After reviewing Taylor’s claim, AIG began paying him disability benefits of $623.87 per week. From November 2001 to February 2004, it is alleged that Taylor received total disability payments of $77,530 while continuing to work on the side.
A subsequent IFB investigation revealed that while Taylor was collecting workers’ comp benefits from AIG, he was also employed as a contractor performing multiple renovation projects on people’s homes. The investigation also revealed that he was performing work inconsistent with his injury claims, including video surveillance of Taylor building a deck at his cousin’s home.
Sembler was employed as a plumber for a subcontractor of Modern Continental Construction Company on Feb. 11, 2003 when he allegedly injured his lower back while working on the Central Artery Project. Sembler then filed a disability workers’ comp claim with National Union Fire Insurance. After initially rejecting Sembler’s claim and a subsequent review by the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA), AIG paid Sembler a retroactive payment of $13, 995 and continued to pay him workers’ comp benefits of $822.57 per week.
An IFB investigation revealed that Sembler had, in fact, been employed as a plumber on numerous contracting jobs while receiving workers’ comp. It is alleged that Sembler received a total of $65,000 in benefits from AIG while working on the side from February 2003 through August 2004.
Peacock was employed as an ironworker for Keystone Engineering Corporation when he allegedly injured his left thumb while working on the Central Artery Project on January 3, 2001. He filed a workers’ comp claim with National Fire Insurance and began receiving benefits in the amount of $830.89 per week. On July 9, 2001, Peacock was released back to work by his treating physician and his disability benefits were terminated.
On December 16, 2002, Peacock filed a new claim with DIA claiming that he had re-aggravated the thumb injury and had stopped working on November 22, 2002 due to that injury. AIG paid Peacock a retroactive check and began issuing weekly disability benefit checks in the amount of $880 per week.
A subsequent IFB investigation revealed that Peacock had been employed in several contracting jobs while he was receiving disability checks. It is alleged that Peacock received a total of $21,497 in workers’ comp benefits from AIG while working other jobs.
Stanton was employed as a construction worker for Jay Cashman, Inc., when he reported being injured on both July 27, 2000 and again on October 28, 2000. Beginning on October 31, 2003, he began receiving disability workers’ comp benefits from Zurich-American Insurance Company and then the American Home Insurance Company.
An investigation revealed that Stanton worked for TRI Construction from Aug. 12, 2000 through Sept. 9, 2003, while he was also receiving workers’ comp. During that time, Stanton had his checks written to Truck Service and Repair, a non-existent company. Investigators for the insurer videotaped Stanton on three occasions in 2003 working at TRI and repairing heavy equipment.
Stanton allegedly received $137,795 in workers’ comp while also working for TRI Construction.
Stanton’s perjury charge resulted from two occasions in which Stanton stated under oath before the DIA that he was in severe pain, unable to work, and that he had not worked since Oct. 30, 2000. On Feb. 24, at a DIA conference, Stanton admitted to working for wages while collecting disability payments.
All four defendants have been summonsed for arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court on Oct. 18.
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