Fla. Resident Charged in Workers’ Comp Case

July 25, 2004

A former employee with a Spring Hill, Florida, rehabilitation center was caught performing manual labor while collecting workers’ compensation benefits for an alleged injury sustained on the job in 2003.

Investigators with the department’s Division of Insurance Fraud say Jesus Fernandez, 44, collected thousands of dollars in fraudulent workers’ comp benefits. According to investigators, Fernandez reported an injury to his employer after hospital beds he was transporting fell on him. Fernandez was treated by a physician, placed on restricted duty and began receiving workers’ comp payments for injuries to his neck, back and right hip.

In March and April 2004, the workers’ comp carrier hired investigators to conduct video surveillance that later was turned over to state investigators. The video reportedly recorded Fernandez climbing on ladders, lifting ladders, carrying tools to rooftops and working on air conditioning units. As a result of Fernandez’s allegedly fraudulent claim, more than $18,000 in payments were made by the carrier.

Fernandez was arrested and charged with one count of grand theft and one count of workers’ comp fraud. He was booked into the Hernando County Jail, with bond set at $4,000. If convicted on all charges, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

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