A Fontana, Calif. man working as a gardener dug up something he would have rather left buried.
According to information from the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, 54-year-old Jose Cortez was recently charged with both workers compensation fraud and perjury.
Fraud Started More Than 2 Years Ago
Authorities say this alleged fraud got its start more than two years ago when the individual obtained an occupational injury while doing his job.
As the story goes, a large tree branch came down on Cortez, reportedly causing him injuries. At the time of his injury, Cortez was taken to a local hospital treated albeit through the workers’ comp system prior to being released under minimal work restrictions.
In 2011 Cortez came under scrutiny as private insurance investigators caught wind of reported fraud.
Video Surveillance Provided Evidence
They started a video surveillance watch on Cortez, reportedly catching him undertaking his typical responsibilities as a gardener, minus no obvious pain or restrictions. Flash forward to September of 2012, as a major criminal investigation kicked off, eventually implicating Cortez.
Not only was Cortez demonstrating he could handle his gardening duties, but he was still receiving insurance benefits at a time when he claimed he was unable to take on work-related responsibilities.
Facing Up to 8 Years in Prison
As a result of this alleged scam, Cortez was arrested recently outside his residence, pleading not guilty at his arraignment.
In the event Cortez is convicted per the charges, he could get eight years behind bars.
To any other individuals out there thinking about such activities, it is important to remember that you never know who is watching you.
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com.
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