Thursday, June 16, 2022

GLOW resident stayed at work despite Worker’s Comp:

Albion woman charged with defrauding Workmens’ Comp

An Albion woman was arraigned Tuesday in Town Court on eight felony charges for allegedly bilking Workers’ Compensation out of more than $80,000.

Joanne M. Florek, 54, is charged with second-degree grand larceny, five counts of first-degree falsifying business records, second-degree insurance fraud and fraudulent practices.

The most serious charges, grand larceny and insurance fraud, are class C felonies punishable by up to 15 years in state prison.

New York State Police arrested Florek last week after an investigation that revealed she received benefits from September 2018 to January.

An investigation by the Offices of Inspector General, which includes the New York State Workers’ Compensation Fraud Inspector General, found that Florek began receiving workers’ compensation benefits in September 2018 when she was injured while working at Orchard Manor Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Medina.

She subsequently reported to the insurance carrier, PMA Companies Inc. (PMA), through both representations to doctors and on various questionnaires, that she had not returned to work in any capacity, even on a volunteer basis.

Florek said she had not collected earnings from any other source since her 2018 work injury. The investigation revealed that she was working as a bookkeeper and personal care aide for a local elderly woman, all the while collecting earnings.

As a result of her intentional misrepresentations, the defendant obtained $80,867.75 in Workers’ Compensation insurance benefits between September 2018 and January 2022, to which she was not entitled.

Under State law, injured employees are required to provide truthful information regarding their work activity to insurance carriers and the Workers’ Compensation Board during the time they are receiving benefits.

“In order to fulfill its vital purpose, the Workers’ Compensation system requires the honesty of all,” said state Inspector General Lucy Lang. “We will continue to vigorously investigate and root out fraud to protect the system for injured workers and their families.”

Inspector General Lang thanked PMA for their assistance with the investigation, the New York State Police for their assistance with the arrest, and Orleans County District Attorney Joseph V. Cardone and his office for prosecuting the matter.

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