Handyman pleads guilty to defrauding VIC workers compensation scheme


Photo: Activedia, Pixabay

A handyman in Frankston has been ordered to pay back over $150,000 and handed a one-year suspended jail sentence after defrauding Victoria’s workers compensation scheme.

The 50-year-old man pleaded guilty in the Frankston Magistrates Court t otwo fraud charges for secretly working while claiming compensation from WorkSafe for a work-related back injury.

The court heard how his offences stretched across over two years from August 2014 to October 2016.

During this period, the man worked as a handyman under several business names. An investigation by WorkSafe found 25 clients paid him a total of $88,225 for work including kitchen and bathroom renovations and fence, gate and retaining wall installations during this period.

At the same time, he was submitting certificates to WorkSafe which stated he was unfit for work and had not engaged in any form of employment.

Surveillance, however, showed him lifting. Moving. Loading and unloading renovation materials.

He pleaded guilty to obtaining financial advantage of $91,558.80 by deception under the Crime Act and was convicted and sentenced to 12 months goal, wholly suspended for two years. He also pleaded guilty to getting $33,328.40 in fraudulent payments under the Workplace Injury, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act for which he was convicted and released on a 2-year adjourned undertaking.

WorkSafe’s Insurance Business Unit Executive Director Shane O’Dea said that while many injured workers do the right thing, a few still use the system for their own benefit.

“Those who defraud the system will be held to account,” he said.

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