The Louisiana Department of Labor announced that a New Orleans firefighter has been convicted of trying to cheat the state out of $25,000 in workers’ compensation benefits.
Richard Lloyd, 64, of 3226 Pittari Place, was found guilty earlier this month of trying to illegally obtain workers’ compensation benefits. It is the second prosecution in recent months of someone trying to defraud the workers’ compensation system.
“This is another example of how we will continue to root out fraud and theft in the Workers’ Compensation program,” said Karen Winfrey, assistant secretary of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation. “Workers’ compensation is a great benefit for those who honestly need the help. We will not let those who try to defraud the program go unpunished.”
According to the investigation, Lloyd received workers’ compensation benefits as a result of injuries he suffered as a New Orleans city firefighter. Workers’ compensation recipients are required to report any other income they receive to their employer or their insurance company. Any income earned is deducted from the amount of the lost wage workers’ compensation benefits received.
The investigation concluded that Lloyd did not tell the fire department or its insurer that he owned and operated the Sportsman’s Bar and Lounge in New Orleans while he was receiving workers’ compensation benefits. He never reported the income and, in fact, claimed that he was not receiving any income other than workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, he told his doctors that he was not able to return to work, even though he was working in his own bar. A sentencing hearing is set for March 1, 2005.
Earlier this year, a joint investigation by the Labor Department and the State Attorney General’s office resulted in the prosecution of a Jefferson Davis Parish man who pleaded guilty to felony theft of workers’ compensation benefits.
“These prosecutions, hopefully, will serve as a deterrent to others who want to cheat the system,” Winfrey said.
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