3 Jefferson County Residents Charged With Workers' Comp Fraud
Story Updated: Nov 15, 2016 at 3:37 PM EST
Three people from Jefferson County have been arrested on felony charges of Workers’ Compensation fraud.
The announcement was made Tuesday by New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott.
A Jefferson County grand jury indicted:
- Ronald Durand, 44, of State Route 411, Lafargeville, was charged with third-degree grand larceny, third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third-degree insurance fraud and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing.
- Marleen Ayen, 64, of Main Street, Antwerp, was charged with third-degree grand larceny, third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, first-degree falsifying business records and the Workers’ Compensation crime of fraudulent practices
- Anthony Hull, who Ayen described as her fiancé and who lives at the same address, was charged with first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and the Workers’ Compensation crimes of fraudulent practices and failure to secure the payment of compensation.
Durand allegedly began receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits in March 2013 after claiming a back injury while working delivering jugs of drinking water.
According to the Inspector General, since that injury, Durand repeatedly claimed to medical providers, his employers’ insurance carrier and the State Workers’ Compensation Board that his disability made him unable to work or do most anything except rest and heal.
Repeated surveillance allegedly found Durand at the Watertown YMCA within months of his reported injury bench pressing as much as 335 pounds, performing military press ups with 180 pounds of weight and doing lateral pull downs, shoulder shrugs, curls and triceps pushdowns with significant amounts of weight.
The investigation determined he received nearly $3,200 in Workers’ Compensation benefits to which he was not entitled, Leahy said.
In a separate investigation as part of a countywide Workers’ Compensation fraud initiative, it was found that Ayen had been receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits since claiming a work-related injury in 2004.
In 2015, she attested to her insurance company that she had not been working in any capacity.
However, the Inspector General says an investigation found Ayen was indeed working at Anthony Hull’s hardware store, Robbins Hardware, located in Antwerp, and received nearly $3,200 in benefits to which she was not entitled.
Additionally, Hull allegedly had no Workers’ Compensation coverage for his employees and claimed he had no employees when he did.
Durand, Ayen and Hull were each arraigned on the indicted charges Tuesday in Jefferson County Court.
All three are due to reappear in court in December and January.
Under State law, employers are required to maintain Workers’ Compensation coverage for their employees, and employees are expected to provide truthful information regarding their work activity to insurance carriers and the Workers’ Compensation Board during the time they are receiving benefits.
Workers’ Compensation fraud impacts all New Yorkers, from increased insurance premiums to increased workloads for coworkers and an overall reduction in workforce productivity.
Inspector General Leahy Scott thanked the State Department of Financial Services and State Insurance Fund for their assistance with the investigations, the State Police for their assistance with the arrests, and Jefferson County District Attorney Kristyna S. Mills and her office for prosecuting this matter.
The defendants are all presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.