Eight individuals, including a New York State corrections officer, have been arrested for workers’ compensation fraud against the New York State Insurance Fund, the NYSIF reported.
Suspects in the arrests accounted for more than $284,000 in actual fraud and more than $1 million in reserves that NYSIF would have been paying to claimants who allegedly submitted fraudulent claims, according to NYSIF CEO David P. Wehner.
He said the arrest came in a sweep conducted by the Westchester and Putnam District Attorneys’ Offices.
According to officials, those arrested included Michael Busick, of Ossining, N.Y., a state corrections officer charged with forgery. According to authorities, Busick claimed he was injured when he fell on the job in a stairway while escorting a prisoner. After filing the claim, investigators said Busick allegedly began working the next day as a contractor on a home improvement project, while he collected workers’ compensation benefits from NYSIF for his claim.
According to authorities, also arrested were: Michael Cavaluzzi, of Peekskill, who allegedly worked as an auto mechanic and drove a tow truck while collecting benefits; Jay Levinson, of Cornwell, a owner-operator of a car dealership in Newburgh, who continued to collect benefits for an alleged injury from a previous employment; Jennifer Anderson, of New Rochelle, and Jennifer Venters, of Hopewell Junction, both of whom claimed injuries from previous jobs and were allegedly working at different florists while collecting benefits.
The following were also arrested: John McDonald, of Carmel, who claimed an injury as a construction worker and allegedly ran a karaoke business in local bars; Steve Sklany, who allegedly altered a certificate of insurance for obtain work for his company, Premium Quality Construction; and Frank Pignataro, of Pleasantville, who allegedly presented a fraudulent certificate of insurance for his company, Master Mason, to work as a sub-contractor for a NYSIF policyholder.
NYSIF officials said arrest warrants were also issued for workers’ compensation fraud suspects in Mexico and Puerto Rico as part of the sweep.