Worker ordered to repay more than $17,000 in worker’s compensation

An Adelaide man has been ordered to repay more than $17,000 after falsely claiming he was too injured to work, while being employed as a farmhand.

The man pleaded guilty to 12 charges in South Australia’s Employment Tribunal related to dishonestly claiming and receiving payments from Return To Work SA.

The tribunal heard the man suffered a compensable injury while working as a security guard in March 2019 including bruising and swelling to his face, grazed knees and abdominal muscle strain.

After a short period of time away from work, he had surgery on his nose with complications causing him to lose some of his sense of taste and smell.

The man received $17,641 from October to December 2019 in compensation payments after submitting medical certificates certifying “total incapacity for work” accompanied by statements that he had not been working.

The tribunal heard during that time he had been in paid work as a farmhand.

“When individuals or businesses try to rort the system, it increases the costs for all employers and takes money away from providing services to people who have been injured at work,” Return To Work SA executive leader of regulation James Large said.

“We take fraud very seriously and will rigorously pursue cases where we think there are suspicious activities or improper claims being made.

“By doing so, we are protecting access for legitimately injured workers who rely on the scheme to provide support for their incapacity or disability.”

The man had convictions recorded and was sentenced to 109 days in prison.

The prison sentence was suspended on him entering a $750 bond to be of good behaviour for 12 months.

He has been ordered to repay all of the compensation payments, plus nearly $8,000 for Return to Work SA’s investigation and legal costs and a $3,000 victim’s of crime levy.

Source: ABC News

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