A mechanic in Victoria has repaid $96,196 after being caught working while receiving weekly payments from Victoria’s workers compensation scheme.
Muhammad Faisal, 38, pleaded guilty in the Werribee Magistrates’ Court to one charge of fraudulently obtaining payments after he injured his right arm and shoulder while working as a mechanic.
The court heard Faisal’s compensation claim was accepted by WorkSafe in June 2017 and he received weekly payments until November 2019.
But an inspection of Faisal’s financial records later found that while receiving injury support he performed multiple shifts driving taxis for several different companies and also worked as a ride-share driver.
The investigation revealed Faisal had attended a number of medical examinations where he failed to inform doctors that he had returned to work and had submitted certificates of capacity declaring he had not earned any income.
Faisal was convicted and placed on a 24-month community corrections order with a condition to perform 225 hours of community work.
In sentencing, the court took into account Faisal’s agreement to before the hearing to repay the full amount he had fraudulently claimed.
Those who try to defraud the compensation scheme were hurting every injured Victorian worker who needed care and support, said WorkSafe Victoria’s insurance business unit executive director Roger Arnold.
“The vast majority of injured workers want to do the right thing and return to work as soon as it is safe to, but there will always be a small minority who are tempted to cheat the system for their own benefit,” Arnold said.
“Compensation is there to support workers and WorkSafe will not hesitate to take action against the kind of dishonesty that undermines the integrity of the entire scheme.”