Compensation fraud to repay almost $60,000

A man has been ordered to pay back $58,121 and complete 250 hours of community service after he was discovered working multiple jobs while receiving workers' compensation payments.
News article published

Monday 22 Nov 2021

Industries and topics
  • Claims
  • Insurance

Lee Sharples of North Frankston pleaded guilty at the Frankston Online Magistrates' Court to one rolled-up charge of fraudulently obtaining weekly payments.

He was convicted and placed on a Community Corrections Order for 18 months.

The court heard Sharples, 31, injured his shoulder in November 2017 while working as a labourer. He required surgery and lodged a workers' compensation claim which was accepted the next month.

In 2019, Sharples also successfully lodged a claim for a secondary mental health injury relating to his injured shoulder.

In April 2020, surveillance footage showed Sharples entering a workplace wearing a uniform.

A WorkSafe investigation revealed that between February 2019 and October 2020, Sharples earned more than $46,000 working at two separate companies.

The court heard that during this period he also received a number of Newstart (now JobSeeker) and JobKeeper payments, at times receiving wages from two jobs, unemployment benefits and workers compensation at the same time.

From January 2019, all of Sharples' Certificates of Capacity stated he had no work capacity.

WorkSafe's Insurance Business Unit Executive Director Roger Arnold warned WorkSafe is always on the lookout for fraudulent behaviour.

"Workers' compensation is to support injured workers who cannot work. Those who cheat the system for their own gain undermine the entire scheme," he said.

"Most people do the right thing, but WorkSafe won't hesitate to prosecute those whose behaviour is dishonest."