State Successfully Prosecutes Workers’ Compensation Fraud
May 17, 2018
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Anchorage jury has convicted a former Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOTPF) employee of multiple criminal charges related to workers’ compensation fraud. Scott Groom was found guilty of one felony count of scheme to defraud, two felony counts of theft in the second degree, and 34 felony counts of falsification of business records. The Anchorage jury also found an aggravating factor.
Mr. Groom worked for DOTPF as a weigh station operator when he was injured on the job in 1999. Mr. Groom moved to Wisconsin in 2002 and settled his workers’ compensation claim with the State of Alaska in 2008. Under the terms of the settlement, the State agreed to provide future medical benefits.
Mr. Groom then allegedly began receiving massage treatment from Laurayne Fischer in Wisconsin. Between 2009 and 2012, Mr. Groom and Ms. Fischer submitted fraudulent workers’ compensation claims for services that were not performed by Ms. Fischer. Mr. Groom also submitted fraudulent mileage reimbursement claims related to the treatments allegedly performed by Ms. Fischer.
In February of 2018, Ms. Fischer pled guilty to two counts of theft in the second degree and testified against Mr. Groom at trial. The terms of her plea agreement require Ms. Fischer to pay $20,391.46 in restitution to the State of Alaska for the workers’ compensation funds she received for treatments that she did not perform.
Scheme to Defraud is a class B felony and carries a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $100,000 and restitution to the State. Theft in the second degree and Falsification of Business Records are class C felonies and carry a possible sentence of up to 5 years in prison, a fine up to $50,000 and restitution to the State.
“Alaska’s workers’ compensation system helps honest workers who have been injured on the job. When an individual commits workers’ compensation fraud, they drive up insurance costs for everyone,” said Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas. “The State of Alaska will continue to be diligent in investigating and prosecuting individuals who abuse the workers’ compensation system.”
The Alaska Division of Workers’ Compensation Special Investigations Unit and the Department of Law’s Office of Special Prosecutions collaborated for several years on the case. Mr. Groom is scheduled to be sentenced on September 11, 2018.