Forklift fraudster ordered to pay back $48,000

Friday, 25 August, 2023 - 12:30
Incidents & prosecutions

A forklift driver in West Footscray Victoria who was caught working as a food delivery driver while receiving workers' compensation payments has been ordered to pay back $48,367.

Rafi Rafiuzzaman, 35, was sentenced without conviction in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to one rolled-up charge of fraudulently obtaining payments.

He was placed on a 12-month Community Corrections Order with 120 hours of unpaid community work.

The court heard that Rafiuzzaman began receiving workers' compensation payments in April 2020 after he was struck by a forklift, fracturing his right foot.

However, a WorkSafe Victoria investigation found Rafiuzzaman secretly continued work as a gig economy driver, performing 238 deliveries while receiving compensation payments, including one on the day of his injury.

During this time, he submitted 20 certificates of capacity declaring he had not engaged in any form of employment.

In August 2021, after earning more than $21,000 as a delivery driver, Rafiuzzaman’s claim was terminated on grounds of fraud.

Any offender scamming the worker's compensation system would face serious consequences, said WorkSafe Victoria insurance business unit executive director, Roger Arnold.

“People who think they can get away with defrauding the compensation scheme for their gain should think again – we have zero tolerance for fraudsters,” Arnold said.

“This shameful behaviour threatens the integrity of the entire scheme and is deeply offensive to injured workers who depend on it for their livelihood.”