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Workers' comp fraudsters to return $80,000

WorkSafe Victoria says two men caught separately receiving benefits from the workers’ compensation scheme while working will have to return more than $80,000 between them, after they pleaded guilty in court.

The prosecutions should serve as a warning to anyone else tempted to defraud the system that supports injured workers, WorkSafe Insurance Business Unit Executive Director Roger Arnold said.

“It is made very clear that workers’ compensation payments are not there to supplement income while working,” he said.

“The vast majority of injured workers want to do the right thing but there are serious consequences for those looking to cheat the scheme for their own benefit.”

The Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court last week convicted Joshua Blundell and ordered him to repay $33,778 in compensation, pay $1500 in costs and donate $3000 to charity. He was also put on a 12-month good behaviour bond.

WorkSafe says he was the sole director and secretary of an earthmoving company and commenced receiving weekly payments in May 2018 after lodging a claim for a psychological injury.

He had submitted nine certificates of capacity between June 2018 and February 2019 declaring that he was not engaged in other employment.

But an investigation found he had continued to operate the company, including undertaking work himself, and had received at least $45,000 from his undisclosed business activities.

In the Ringwood Magistrates Court last week, Shayne Thomas was ordered to repay $37,830 in compensation and also fined $7,000 without conviction.

He first spent seven months off work after hurting his shoulder on a building site in 2017, but his claim was re-opened in July 2019 after a request for further surgery.

In June last year, an investigation found he had sent invoices of more than $32,000 for work installing clotheslines and letterboxes and had also been employed as a building maintenance coordinator since weekly payments commenced.

“During this time, [he] had submitted a number of no work capacity certificates,” WorkSafe said.