Worker prosecuted for dishonestly receiving payments

(11 October 2022)

ReturnToWorkSA has successfully prosecuted a man who claimed and received compensation payments while continuing to be paid as a farmhand – despite saying he was incapable of working.

In a case before the South Australian Employment Tribunal last week, the man pleaded guilty to 12 charges under the Return to Work Act, 10 of which related to dishonestly claiming and receiving payments from ReturnToWorkSA.

The defendant also made false statements declaring he had not worked or earned income since an operation in August 2019, when in fact he had been in paid employment.

He received a suspended jail sentence and has been ordered to repay more than $20,000.

“When individuals or businesses try to rort the system, it increases the costs for all employers and takes money away from providing services to people who have been injured at work,” said ReturnToWorkSA Executive Leader Regulation James Large.

“We take fraud very seriously and will rigorously pursue cases where we think there are suspicious activities or improper claims being made.

“By doing so, we are protecting access for legitimately injured workers who rely on the Scheme to provide support for their incapacity or disability.”


In March 2019, the defendant sustained an injury while working as a security guard and his claim for compensation was accepted. After a period away from work, he underwent surgery to his nose.

The defendant received 10 payments from ReturnToWorkSA from October to December 2019, during which time he was in paid employment as a farmhand on the Eyre Peninsula despite medical certificates certifying total incapacity for work accompanied by statements that he had not been working.

The defendant also falsely declared to a claims agent in April 2020 that he had not earned income in the prior month when it was later revealed that he had been working during that time.

The defendant was sentenced to 109 days imprisonment, which was suspended, and ordered to repay $17,641.41 of dishonestly received payments, $5,013.37 in investigation costs, $2,866.33 in legal and service of document costs and a $3,000 victims of crime levy.

In sentencing the defendant, the Magistrate pointed out the importance of protecting the effective operation of the Scheme, saying that dishonest claims “put at risk the effective operation of a scheme of compensation which is in place to protect persons who have suffered injuries at work”.

ReturnToWorkSA is choosing not to reveal the identity of the offender.

Reporting suspected fraud

We investigate allegations of fraud to protect the integrity of the Return to Work scheme and pursue prosecution where we find evidence of offending.

If you suspect someone is committing fraud, you can report it by calling us on 13 18 55, emailing or completing our online fraud and non-compliance referral form.

Media contact

Matthew Magarey: phone 0466 111 725