Employer Fraud in Florida Workers' Comp Continues to Be the Most Costly Fraud for Florida

Each January, the Division of Workers’ Compensation and the Division of Investigative and Forensic Services’ Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Fraud (BWCF) issues their joint annual report to lawmakers. This year’s report has been published and covers the period of July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017. It provides a comparison point from year to year for those interested in the status of workers’ compensation fraud in Florida.

As discussed in a prior blog post, most people wrongly assume that work comp fraud is primarily when an employee fakes or exaggerates an on-the-job injury for material gain. However, each year the State of Florida publishes a report that shows this to be inaccurate and unfair to Florida’s injured workers. The vast majority of arrests and convictions for work comp fraud in Florida involve employer fraud by companies working without workers’ compensation coverage (239 convictions), violations of stop-work orders issued when lack of coverage or inadequate coverage is found (27), and fictitious certificates of exemption and insurance filed by owners of companies (11). By contrast, only 31 workers were convicted of fraud. For those like me and not so quick on their feet with math, this means that almost 90% of the work comp fraud issues involve employers trying to cheat the system rather than employees.

Jon Moore, press secretary for the office of Chief Financial Officer, said investigators are focusing on premium fraud cases, which include misclassification and underreporting of payroll. “We’re seeing an uptick in those cases, so we have shifted our resources and our techniques to really identify and go after this type of fraud,” Moore said.

Based on the joint annual report issued year after year, this seems to be the most prudent measure to fighting fraud in the system.

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