In Oklahoma, the Office of the Attorney General is responsible for prosecuting fraud cases including workers' compensation fraud. Through Attorney General Scott Pruitt's Workers' Compensation and Insurance Fraud Unit, individuals who defraud employers, employees, and workers' compensation insurance providers are subject to criminal charges. Over the last six months, the Attorney General's Office charged several Oklahomans with workers' comp fraud.
- December 18, 2012 - Carolin Reinschmiedt, 44, Tulsa - Reinschmiedt claimed she endured "incomprehensible" pain after injuring her shoulder, back, and neck while carrying a combative patient at the Woodland View Care and Rehabilitation Center. Though medical tests came back normal, Reinschmiedt said that treatment did not help and she was unable to do any activities. However, surveillance video showed the woman carrying out daily activities and lifting and carrying objects without any visible discomfort.
- October 5, 2012 - Edith J. Wilcoxson, 59, Woodward - Wilcoxson claimed to have injured her lower back, hips, leg, and foot in 2006 while working as a medic for Woodward County Emergency Medical Services. In 2008, she added her neck as an injury in a supplemental claim. Wilcoxson testified under oath that she had no pre-existing neck condition and that she had never previously injured her neck in an automobile accident. However, an investigation revealed that medical records indicate that the woman had been notified of degenerative disc disease and a bulging disc several times prior to 2006. She also injured her neck in a car accident in 1999, but declined recommended surgery. She testified at a workers' compensation hearing in 2001 that she injured her neck in the motor vehicle accident.
- August 15, 2012 - Tony Azar, 59, Bethany - Azar claimed to have injured his back in 2009 when he slipped on wet pavement. He said that his injuries left him unable to be active without assistance and that he required the use of a cane. However, surveillance video showed Azar without a cane walking, running, driving, bending at the waist, and playing pool, actions considered inconsistent with his injury claim.
- July 2, 2012 - Kimberly Dawn Nelson, 42, Dover - Nelson claimed to have injured her spine when she slipped and fell on ice while on the job. She said her injury left her with severe upper back pain and numbness in the arms which prevented her from working. An investigation revealed that Nelson actually sustained injuries in a horseback riding accident, and that she was employed while receiving workers' compensation benefits.
- July 2, 2012 - Quincy Arlo Garfield, Sr., 33, Oklahoma City - Garfield claimed to have injured his left hand, wrist, and thumb while working at a craft store in 2011, and claimed there were no prior work-related injuries to his hand. However, he sought treatment two weeks after the alleged incident and told doctors he injured his hand at home. His claim was denied. Garfield also filed a workers' compensation claim in 2003 alleging that he sustained injuries to both hands while working at a fast food restaurant.
Because of cases of workers' compensation fraud, it is often difficult for legitimately injured workers to get the benefits they need following an on-the-job injury. When your claim has been denied, a skilled attorney can help.