A Few Notable Examples of Workers’ Compensation Abuse

by tylercook on May 7, 2013

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Workers’ compensation is an insurance meant to help employees who are injured on the job. The compensation covers the cost of medical care and time missed from work due to the injury. The protection it provides is essential for people who make legitimate claims, however, it is also subject to many false claims and abuse. Abuse of the system causes changes in the system and can slow the process down for future claimants.

Classic Cases of Workers’ Compensation Abuse

A vineyard worker in Napa Valley claimed that he had injured his hand while working. He filed a claim and collected over $1000 in compensation. After an investigation was completed, it was discovered that the 24 year-old had actually injured his hand in a fight weeks prior to claiming he had injured it at work. Ivan Ruiz-Hernandez was subsequently arrested and sentenced to 45 days in jail and ordered to pay restitution for the amount of money stolen in the fraud case.

Professional Football Player

Marcus Buckley was a football player for the New York Giants. He sustained injuries during his tenure as a team member and filed for workers’ compensation. The claim was approved and Buckley received millions of dollars. Although the original claim was legitimate, Buckley and an associate for the insurance company, Kimberly Jones, are accused of abusing the system. Buckley entered claims for medical services that appear to have never been rendered. Kimberly Jones is accused of pushing the claims through in such a way as to avoid fraud detection. The case has yet to be settled.

Law Enforcement and Fraud

Angela Kleckner filed for workers’ compensation with a legitimate claim. She worked at the Brevard County Jail until she was injured on the job. Abuse of the system was noticed during a routine investigation to substantiate further payments to the claimant. Kleckner was videotaped performing daily activities that she claimed she was unable to do when filing her claims with the office. She walked about freely and without the oxygen tank she claimed to have needed as a result of her injuries. The case has not gone to court as of yet, however, she is accused of theft of more than $100,000.

Cheating Employers

A California couple, Michael Vincent Petronella (AKA: Michael Constantine) and Devon Lyn Kyle, are accused of one of the biggest workers’ compensation fraud schemes in the state history. The couple under-reported the number of employees at their businesses, made false claims for employee injuries, and gave misleading figures when reporting company income in order to avoid paying premiums for the mandatory insurance. The pair faces 106 charges including insurance fraud. Bail was set at $10 million each and proof of where the money came from is required prior to release. The prison term could cost the couple up to 102 years in jail.

Workers’ compensation fraud and abuse hurt those who have legitimate claims. The vineyard workers’ claims seem miniscule compared to the others, but, every abuse of the system makes it more difficult for the system to work properly. Insurance fraud is a serious charge that can result in jail time, major fines, and restitution.


Drake Spielmann is a freelance writer who focuses on legal topics such as Insurance Fraud, Workers’ Compensation Abuse, Employment Discrimination, Car Accidents, Personal Injury and other subjects as well.




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