A worker who forged medical certificates to claim nearly $113,000 in workers’ compensation payments has been jailed for nine months.
Andres Canepa Uranga had lodged a workers’ compensation claim for incapacity to work after he sustained an eye injury while working as a carpenter.
Just 10 days after his claim, Mr Uranga started working as a painter.
WorkSafe Victoria conducted an investigation Mr Uranga’s workers’ compensation claim after an independent medical expert approached his GP about a possible return to work, to then find out that his doctor had not seen him for 18 months.
The following day, the police arrested the worker on an unrelated matter and found a number of certificates of capacity to work in his possession.
Some of the certificates had numbers cut out of them which were applied to existing dates on others with sticky tape.
Mr Uranga used the forged medical certificates to continue receiving workers’ compensation payments after his GP banned him for becoming aggressive and kicking in the GP’s front gate.
WorkSafe Victoria said it was discovered that three certificates he submitted had been illegally altered.
The worker pleaded guilty in Sunshine Magistrates’ Court to three counts of fraudulently obtaining compensation payments.
He was sentenced to nine months’ jail and ordered to pay back the $122,975 he received in compensation payments, plus $1,000 costs.
“Compensation is there to assist, and the vast majority of injured workers do the right thing,” WorkSafe Enforcement Group Director Paul Fowler said.
“It was made clear here and is always the case that these payments are not to supplement income while working and those who try and cheat the system for their own benefit will be held to account.”