Workers’ compensation insurance helps workers pay medical and living expenses in the event they become injured on the job and can no longer work. (It’s important to note that the injury must be accidental – not intentional – in order to qualify for compensation.) The Missoulian tells the story of a Montanan who was found guilty of trying to intentionally injure himself so that he could collect workers’ compensation benefits he did not deserve.
The story explains that the man, who was a janitor, persuaded two co-workers to assist with his self-injury scheme. The conspirators placed a 200-pound floor buffer on the conniving custodian’s chest and rocked it back and forth in an attempt to leave visible injuries. When the buffer failed to cause a noteworthy injury, one of the co-workers punched the janitor in his arm and leg in order to create bruising. (I guess that is better than actually turning on the buffer. Just the thought of that idea hurts.)
Evidently, the injuries were severe enough to award the janitor with $64,000 in workers’ compensation benefits over four years. Apparently, after a week-long trial, jurors saw through this janitor’s dirty claims and found the fraudster guilty. (It would have been interesting to hear how the buffer got away from the janitor and caused his injuries. Perhaps he never thought to unplug it from the wall?)He is currently awaiting sentencing.
The two co-workers pleaded guilty to accountability to theft of workers’ compensation benefits and testified against the janitor at his trial. (Between helping the janitor injure himself and later helping the prosecution, these co-workers seem to be naturally inclined to lend a hand. I wonder if the janitor agreed to compensate the two for their assistance in the crime.)
Just as a floor buffer is used to clean and maintain floors, the justice system is used to maintain law and order so that criminals cannot prosper. It looks like the Montana Attorney General’s Office did a good job cleaning up after this fraudster’s scheme to defraud taxpayers failed.