A crowd controller in Victoria who received almost $190,000 in compensation benefits for a workplace injury while continuing to work was recently convicted of fraud in Heidelberg Magistrates’ court.
Cedar Ferry was sentenced to six months imprisonment, wholly suspended for an operational period of two years over the fraud, which took place over a six-year period.
Ferry was working at a nightclub in Brunswick in 2008 when he was injured. Despite receiving compensation payments, he resumed work as a crowd controller in June 2010 and worked shifts for four different employers until July 2015.
The court was told Ferry was paid a total of $188,680.80 in weekly compensation payments from 2008 until 2014, for which he had no entitlement.
A WorkSafe investigation found Ferry attended a number of medical examinations where he supplied false information about his injury and failed to tell doctors that he had returned to work.
WorkSafe had indicated to the court that, given the large sum of money obtained and the duration of the offending, a prison sentence for Ferry was warranted. However, the court was told that he had repaid the total amount to WorkSafe last week.
WorkSafe’s acting general counsel Susannah Palmer said it was disappointing that Ferry had attempted to defraud a scheme that was designed to help him.
“The Victorian workers’ compensation scheme is set up to help injured workers get the support and treatment they need to get better and to get back to work when it is safe to do so,” Palmer said.
“Many people who worked on Mr Ferry’s case, including his own doctor and other medical professionals concerned about his injuries, have had their time wasted and would have every right to feel terribly let down by his actions.”
WorkSafe Victoria has prosecuted 16 workers for fraud in the past 12 months. These included:
A man who suffered a back injury working as a meatpacker claimed he was unable to work and received almost $40,000 in compensation payments while working as a taxi driver.
A man who suffered a stress injury claimed he was unable to work and received almost $54,000 in compensation payments while working for three employers in the telecommunications industry.
A woman who suffered a shoulder injury working as a hairdresser claimed more than $57,000 in childcare expenses which turned out to be false.
A man who suffered a neck injury working as a carpenter claimed he was unable to work and received more than $55,000 in compensation payments while working as a car cleaner.