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Pandemic Fraud Taxes Employers, State Agencies

From fraudulent COVID-19 tests to collect workers’ compensation to fraudulent unemployment insurance claims and fake COVID-19 vaccination cards, employers and state agencies are having to face cheating head on.

Fake COVID-19 Tests

A Staten Island, N.Y., man accused of submitting several fake positive COVID-19 tests to his employers so he could stay home from work and collect workers’ compensation for months has been arrested, authorities said Jan. 19. The arrested man is charged with one count of grand larceny, one count of insurance fraud and seven counts each of forgery, falsifying business records and workers’ compensation fraudulent practices, according to the office of New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang. (NBC News)

False Unemployment Insurance Claims

Every State in the Nation has been hit with Fraudulent Unemployment Claims. We have previously posted updates on UI Fraud and reporting. State officials are now cracking down on fraudulent unemployment claims but have still paid out some large sums for false unemployment insurance claims. Michigan, for example, has paid up to $8.5 billion in false unemployment insurance claims during the pandemic. (The Hill)

$1.9 Million Fraud Scheme Comes to an End

Police made an arrest on Jan. 19, charging an individual with stealing the identities of 100 people and using them to file for $1.9 million in fraudulent unemployment benefits. She and a co-conspirator had received $500,000 in benefits, according to authorities. (MarketWatch)

Faking COVID-19 Illness Can Have Serious Consequences

Employees who fake coronavirus-related illnesses to get out of work—though doing so may be rare—could lose their jobs and face criminal penalties. Businesses are further harmed when they may have to take costly steps to clean the worksite and trace employee contacts after an employee reports testing positive for the virus. Employers should take each claim seriously and have procedures in place to identify false claims.

Vaccine Card Fraud

Now that many employers are requiring their employees to be vaccinated in order to return to the workplace, employers are facing a surprising amount of vaccine card fraud. Employers can take a few steps to spot fake cards.

Falsification of Vaccine Cards Is a Crime in New York

Falsifying a vaccination card is now a crime in New York. The Truth in Vaccination bill, signed into law Dec. 22, 2021, “will help us improve our response to the pandemic now, crack down on fraudulent use of vaccination records, and help us better understand the areas of improvement we need to make to our health care system so we can be even more prepared down the road,” said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. (Axios)

reposted with permission from SHRM 01.27.2022

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