A New York man has been arrested on charges that he defrauded the workers’ compensation system by claiming he was out of work due to an injury while continuing to work at his family business.
Jeffrey Smalt of Bath, N.Y., was arrested and charged with grand larceny in the third degree, insurance fraud in the third degree and perjury in the first degree, all felonies.
An investigation by New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott found that Smalt was employed by Bath Electric, Gas & Water when he was injured on the job in July of 2017. Smalt ceased working at the utility company and began collecting workers’ compensation benefits for his injury.
In the following months, Smalt began working for his family farm, selling, delivering and advertising merchandise, all while reporting to his insurance carrier and the Workers’ Compensation Board that he had not been working in any capacity while receiving financial benefits. This alleged intentional misrepresentation allowed Smalt to obtain $15,842.50 in workers’ compensation insurance benefits to which he was not entitled from December 2017 to May 2018.
“This defendant is charged with brazenly misleading and abusing a benefits program meant to assist honest and hard-working New Yorkers who become disabled due to a work-related injury,” Scott said in a press release issued by her office. “I will continue to use all of the resources at my disposal to protect New York State’s vital workers’ compensation system from anyone who attempts to defraud and take advantage of it.”
Under state law, injured employees are expected to provide truthful information regarding their work activity to insurance carriers and the Workers’ Compensation Board during the time they are receiving benefits. Smalt was arraigned on the charges in the Town of Bath Court and was released on his own recognizance pending further court action. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
Source: The New York State Office of the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Inspector General
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