Fraud conviction for crane driver turned fitness instructor

A former crane driver who was caught running a fitness studio while receiving compensation payments for a work-related injury has been ordered to pay $61,000.


Stephanie Carroll, 29, was sentenced in the Geelong Magistrates' Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to a single charge of fraudulently obtaining payments.

She was convicted and placed on a 12 month Community Corrections Order with 125 hours of unpaid community work and ordered to pay $59,001 in restitution plus $2,000 in costs.

The court heard Carroll began receiving weekly compensation payments in October 2020 after lodging a claim for a work-related adjustment disorder, stress and anxiety.

A WorkSafe investigation later found that Carroll had taken over the lease and franchise for a Ballarat fitness studio in June 2021 and was the sole director, operator and signatory to the business bank account.

She failed to disclose her work activity and continued to submit certificates declaring she had not worked, receiving $59,001 in weekly compensation payments before they were terminated in December 2021.

WorkSafe Executive Director Insurance Roger Arnold said WorkSafe would not hesitate to prosecute people who try to game the system.

"Anyone attempting this kind of fraud should know that workers compensation fraud is a serious crime and will be met with serious consequences," Mr Arnold said.

"The WorkSafe scheme provides crucial support to injured workers – people who defraud the system take money and resources away from injured workers in legitimate need and threaten the integrity of the entire scheme."