BATON ROUGE – Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry recently announced that Corbert Rodrigue was arrested by his General Investigations Unit for Workers’ Compensation Fraud exceeding $100,000.
Rodrigue allegedly informed his employer that he had been injured at a job site after he bent over and could not get up. An investigation by Landry’s General Investigations Unit and the Louisiana Workforce Commission Fraud Unit revealed that Rodrigue was actually injured at home in previous weeks and not at the job site.
Rodrigue was arrested and booked into the Lafourche Parish Jail on one count of theft exceeding $25,000 and one count of misrepresentation concerning benefit payments.
Based on the 2013 Louisiana Laws Revised Statutes, Title 23—Labor and Worker's Compensation, Rodrigue could face considerable fines and jail time.
“It shall be unlawful for any person, for the purpose of obtaining or defeating any benefit or payment ... either for himself or for any other person, to willfully make a false statement or representation,” the law states. “Whoever violates any provision…when the benefits claimed or payments obtained have a value of ten thousand dollars or more, shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than ten years, or fined not more than ten thousand dollars, or both.”
Workers’ compensation insurance exists to protect employees who are hurt on the job.
“This valued employee benefit pays for medical expenses, lost wages and other expenses while a worker heals,” the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud said. “Most employers and their workers are very honest. Only a small number scam this coverage for personal profit, but the damage they cause is enormous.”
The Coalition explained that workers’ compensation fraud costs tens of billions of dollars in false claims and unpaid premiums are stolen every year. Because of these fraudulent claims, premiums are forced to be higher, draining business profits, and costing honest workers their pay and jobs. The largest cost of fraud is that it gets passed onto all consumers.
Landry expressed similar concerns over fraudulent claims, and its effects on consumers and taxpayers.
“Insurance fraud harms job creators, their employees and their customers," he said. "Workers’ compensation fraud, specifically, leads to increased insurance rates and more costly goods and services. To help address this problem, the Louisiana legislature created a multi-agency task force dedicated solely to the investigation and prosecution of insurance fraud in Louisiana.”
Landry explained that combating insurance fraud is still a priority in the state, despite recent budget cuts.
“While we are concerned that recent cuts to our budget may have a negative impact on our office’s efforts – we remain committed to investigating, arresting and prosecuting those who commit insurance fraud throughout Louisiana,” Landry said.