Louisiana Medical Staffing Firm Owners Charged with Work Comp Fraud

May 20, 2010

A months-long investigation by the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) and the Louisiana Attorney General’s office into the business practices of a Ville Platte medical staffing firm has resulted in the arrest of the company’s owners on workers’ compensation insurance fraud charges.

Brett McElwee and Daniel Fuselier, owners of First Choice Medical Staffing, were arrested on charges of insurance fraud and unlawful practices involving workers’ compensation coverage. The two surrendered to authorities at the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office.

According to investigators, McElwee and Fuselier grossly under-reported their company’s payroll and number of employees in order to reduce the cost of their workers’ compensation premium.

The arrests are part of an ongoing effort by LWC to crack down on workers’ compensation fraud by both businesses and workers. In 2009, the LWC Fraud Unit conducted 3,130 investigations, a 64 percent increase over 2008. From those investigations, 26 referrals of both employers and workers were made to the Attorney General’s office for prosecution, a nearly seven-fold increase over 2008.

Through April 2010, LWC has conducted more than 1,000 investigations, with 14 referrals for criminal prosecution.

Source: Louisiana Workforce Commission

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