Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries’ Fraud Prevention and Compliance Program brought in $137.4 million in 2010 for its fraud fighting efforts.
The total, detailed in L&I’s annual report to the legislature, “Targeting Fraud and Abuse,” includes payments from employers for delinquent or falsely reported premiums. It also includes recovered payments to injured workers or health care providers made on fraudulent claims.
Near-record collections in a sluggish economy prove that targeting and enforcement are working, as are programs that assist struggling employers in paying their debts, L&I said.
“Finding fraud used to be like finding a needle in a haystack, dependent on anonymous tips and a little bit of luck,” said Carl Hammersburg. “Our investments in targeting tools and outreach to drive referrals are paying off.”
In fiscal year 2010, the L&I Fraud Prevention & Compliance Program:
- Completed a record 5,846 employer audits, assessing $26.4 million dollars owed;
- Completed a record 5,789 claim investigations, a 12% increase over last year, with no increases in staffing;
- Forwarded 17 fraud cases for criminal prosecution, and kept its 100% conviction rate on completed cases;
- Issued 241 infractions to unlicensed contractors;
- Received more than $7 for every dollar invested in the program.
The report also details new tools L&I is using to fight fraud, including:
- Stop work orders, legally ending all work on a job site if a contractor is discovered with workers but without a valid L&I workers comp account;
- Improved outreach to employers on properly classifying individuals as covered workers instead of exempt independent contractors;
- A fraud blog encouraging the public to report fraud and highlighting fraud cases.
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