Fraud scores own goal in greedy compensation ploy

A man caught working while receiving workers' compensation payments after he lodged a new injury claim has been ordered to pay back more than $35,000.

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Published: 24 January 2022

Ian Riseley, 64, pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining compensation payments at the La Trobe Valley Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

Riseley was convicted and fined $1,500 and ordered to pay costs of $1,971. He was also sentenced to a Community Corrections Order for a period of 18 months.

The court heard that Riseley was employed at a trailer manufacturing business when he injured his wrist in July 2018 and was unable to work.

He lodged a compensation claim which was accepted, and began receiving weekly payments.

In February 2019, Riseley began working at a beef cattle processing facility, and in his job application claimed he had never suffered a work-related injury.

In September that year, Riseley lodged a second workers' compensation claim after purportedly suffering an injury at his new workplace.

Receiving a claim from someone who was already obtaining compensation payments prompted WorkSafe insurer CGU to contact Riseley to find out whether he had been working.

Riseley denied secretly working, insisting the new claim was a case of identity theft.

However, WorkSafe investigation revealed Riseley had been working as a stockman whilst continuing to receive compensation payments for his injury at the first workplace.

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

"In this case, the offender was undone by his own greed, but even those who think they're smart enough to game the workers' compensation system will be caught and face serious consequences," he said.

"The scheme is there to support injured workers and help them return to work, and WorkSafe won't hesitate to prosecute those who try to exploit it for personal gain."