Two fraud prosecutions in one week
The integrity of the Return to Work scheme continues to be upheld by the courts with two successful outcomes from prosecutions this month recouping almost $15,000.
Magistrates in both cases were quick to point out how important the Scheme is when it comes to looking after workers who are injured, and as such needs to be protected from individuals who don’t do the right thing.
In the first of the two cases, which was originally listed for a trial, the defendant entered a guilty plea when he appeared in court, to one count of obtaining a payment by dishonest means and one count of making a dishonest statement.
In sentencing, Magistrate Oates acknowledged that there should be a general and personal deterrence, that these types of offences are difficult to detect and that as such, the Scheme should be protected.
The defendant was convicted for both offences, he was given a 15 month/$300 good behaviour bond and was also ordered to repay $9,685.57 in investigation and prosecution costs.
In the second case the defendant entered a guilty plea at the very earliest opportunity and as such, he was granted a 40 per cent discount on his penalty.
The defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of dishonestly making a statement after his lies were uncovered by the ReturnToWorkSA investigations team.
In a particularly blatant display of dishonesty, at one stage the defendant told his case manager that he had gastro and was too ill to talk when he was actually working out at the gym.
Magistrate Harrap described how the defendant had “made blatant lies and showed disrespect for the Scheme, which was in place to support people like (the defendant) who had a legitimate claim.”
Magistrate Harrap sentenced the defendant to a two year/$200 good behaviour bond and ordered him to repay $5,350.00 in investigation costs.
ReturnToWorkSA’s General Manager Regulation Julia Oakley said that for the Scheme to work it was important for all involved to do the right thing.
“We are taking an active approach to managing the performance of the Scheme by looking at the activities of all participants.
“When individuals and businesses don’t do the right thing, it increases the costs for all employers," said Dr Oakley.