ABC7NY: Imposter posed as Queens man for doctor’s visits in ‘fraudulent’ construction fall claim

From ABC7NY:

NEW YORK (WABC) — For months, Eyewitness News has been looking into potential fraudulent work site accidents in New York and recently uncovered a case in which it appears someone stole a man’s identity and posed as him as a patient for a worker’s compensation claim.

Eyewitness News investigative reporter Kristin Thorne made the discovery while looking into the case of a Queens man who said someone used his name and address to file a worker’s comp case and a lawsuit against two developers.

The man asked that we not use his real name. We will refer to him as Daniel for the purposes of this story.

Daniel said he never worked at a construction site in Brooklyn, but he’s been named in a worker’s comp claim and a lawsuit saying that he did. The documents state that Daniel was injured on August 17, 2022 when he fell at the site, but Daniel said it never happened. The company in charge of the job site confirmed with Eyewitness News that Daniel never worked for them.

The worker’s comp documents obtained by Eyewitness News in that case state that Daniel was treated for his injuries at a physical therapist in Elmhurst 16 times from August 2022 through November 2022. The documents reference the August 17, 2022 date as the date of injury.

However, Daniel said he never went to the PT office because he never suffered any injuries because he never fell on a construction site.

Investigative reporter Kristin Thorne went with Daniel to the medical office in Elmhurst to try to get Daniel’s records. She showed office staff the dates on the worker’s comp documents that Daniel was allegedly treated at their office. Office staff told her and Daniel they were unable to release his records because the patient they have on file is different from Daniel.

They showed us a picture of the man who came in apparently posing as Daniel. He had Daniel’s name and address on an ID. The birthdate listed on the identification is almost identical to Daniel’s. However, the picture of the man in the ID is not Daniel.

Eyewitness News showed Daniel a picture of the ID and Daniel said he did not recognize the man in the picture. He said the signature the man wrote on the medical forms – although it was Daniel’s name – is not Daniel’s signature.

The office staff also showed us a form the man filled out when he came for his appointments. He listed his emergency contact as a law firm. In fact, it’s the same law firm that filed the lawsuit in Daniel’s name – a lawsuit Daniel said he knew nothing about.

Eyewitness News tried to contact the man who allegedly posed as Daniel for the PT appointments, but the phone number is disconnected.

The PT office told us the patient suddenly stopped coming for his appointments in 2022. They said they tried to reach him as well and couldn’t get in touch with him.

The office said they also reached out to the law firm to try to find the patient, since the law firm was listed as the emergency contact. They said they never heard back from the firm.

A judge eventually allowed that law firm to be taken off its own case because the firm said they too were unable to get in touch with the man.

Eyewitness News requested to speak with the owner of the PT practice to review what we uncovered, but he never returned our calls.

We reached out to the insurance company referenced on the worker’s comp documents to find out if they paid the PT practice for the appointments. They told us they could not discuss their clients. Documents obtained by Eyewitness News, however, show the insurance company is challenging the claims with the New York State Worker’s Comp Board.

The PT office would also not tell us if they received payment for the claims.

Daniel said he never received any money from New York State worker’s compensation.

Last month, a bill was introduced in Albany which would make staging a construction site accident for the purposes of insurance fraud a felony.

Eyewitness News requested to speak with the owner of the PT office, but no one ever got back to us.

The insurance company is challenging the claims with the New York State worker’s comp board.

Eyewitness News contacted the insurance company to find out if the claims were paid to the physical therapist, but they said they cannot comment on their clients.


Legislative Action Needed:

CWP Endorses S.8413-A(Breslin) / A.8981-A(Weprin) Establishing Crime Of Staging Construction Site Accidents

A Note from Construction Workforce Project:

Passing legislation to combat this exploitation is imperative. Such measures would dismantle the incentives for fraud while holding accountable those who exploit vulnerable workers. By curbing fraudulent claims, the system can expedite the processing of genuine injury cases, ensuring timely access to medical care and financial support for affected workers and their families, as originally intended.

Crucially, these bills aim to target criminal gangs, organized crime rings, unscrupulous attorneys, and indifferent medical practitioners, all of whom profit at the expense of hardworking individuals and the integrity of the system. At a time when New York faces an unprecedented housing affordability crisis, it is paramount to enact measures that rein in housing costs and cultivate a robust, sustainable economy.

Given these compelling reasons, CWP (Construction Workforce Project) staunchly advocates for the enactment of this crucial legislation and extends gratitude to its sponsors for championing measures that will significantly improve the lives of workers and foster a more ethical construction industry.

Download and share our memorandum in support of this legislation

Download our construction site turnstile data showing who we represent in New York City

Recent news accounts showing the prevalence of this problem in New York City:

4/2/24 ABC7NYConstruction worker says his identity was stolen to file false workers’ comp claim, lawsuit

3/6/23 ABC7NYConstruction workers in NY faking falls on sites part of larger fraud scheme, lawsuit claims

11/7/23 ABC7NYThe high price of fake construction falls

Construction Workforce Project urges you to contact your legislator and tell them to pass this legislation

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By |2024-05-06T12:18:17-04:00May 6th, 2024|Latest News, News|0 Comments

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