Elizabeth Torres, a state employee from the Connecticut Department of Development Services, was taken into custody on July 30 under charges of fraud and larceny. Torres, aged 58, was accused of illegally taking more than $4,000 from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program. Torres was arrested on a warrant that charged her with first-degree larceny. It is not known whether she has hired an attorney.
The warrant and subsequent arrest were made by Inspectors belonging to the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Control Unit from the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office. Torres was charged with larceny in the first degree for defrauding a Public Community and making fraudulent claims or receipt of benefits.
Torres’ investigation and arrest were launched due to a complaint filed from Gallagher Bassett Services. Gallagher Bassett Services is responsible for administering the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program for employees of the State.
Torres was reportedly injured during the time she worked at a DDS group home in Newington. The nature of her injury was not specified in reports, but according to the warrant, Torres received income from an unspecified source while receiving workers’ compensation. She obtained a sum of $4,292 as workers’ compensation benefits during July 2016 and December 2017 while also working and receiving income elsewhere. She was accused of fraud and larceny for purportedly failing to disclose the income that disqualified her for workers’ compensation.
Torres’ case is a typical example of workers’ compensation fraud. Workers’ compensation fraud takes place when an individual intentionally makes false statements or hides relevant information to either illegally obtain workers’ compensation benefits to which they are not entitled or prevent someone else from receiving the benefits to which they are rightfully entitled.
Workers’ compensation fraud is not just committed by employees who exaggerate medical conditions or report false disabilities or report non-work related injuries as work-related injuries. Instead, employers too often commit this fraud by falsifying payroll accounts and deducting dollars from employees’ wages. Workers’ compensation fraud costs the people and the country tens of billions of dollars every year.
Just in the past month, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation reported four convictions in cases of Workers’ Compensation Fraud. Another employee in Fillmore, California, was sentenced to probation after he pleaded guilty to Workers’ Compensation Fraud last month. Similarly, an L.A. Police Department Officer was sentenced to three years of probation due to Workers’ Compensation Fraud.
All these are just a few of the workers’ compensation fraud cases that are discovered and reported. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, workers’ Compensation costs businesses $7.2 billion every year. Moreover, workers’ compensation fraud is the most rapidly growing division in insurance fraud.
Currently, Torres is scheduled to appear in the Hartford Superior Court, G.A. No. 14 on the 7th of August this year. She has been released from custody for the time being based on her written promise to appear in court. The case’s prosecution will be formed by the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Control Unit.
First-degree larceny is a Class B felony in Connecticut. It is punishable by an imprisonment term of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $15,000.