On February 11, 2010, claimant Jacob Bancroft limped up to the defendant’s table to face criminal prosecution for workers’ compensation fraud. Bancroft was charged with counts of grand larceny, insurance fraud and falsifying business records. Bancroft plead guilty to a felony charge of ‘falsifying business records.’ He was sentenced to 5 years of probation and is required to pay back $54,000 in workers’ compensation benefits.
What did Bancroft do to deserve such punishment? While out of work collecting benefits for a “back injury” the 29-year-old was actually working a job as a construction laborer and volunteering as a firefighter. He wasn’t just working – he was also playing. Bancroft was videotaped skydiving. Bancroft posted pictures of himself on his MySpace page showing him hiking while carrying a backpack.
In addition to the criminal penalties (restitution and probation) Bancroft is likely going to be sued in civil court for the difference in benefits paid ($83,000) and the restitution ordered by the court ($54,000). Bancroft faces up to four years in state prison if he does not comply with the terms of his probation and restitution.
Increasingly, social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook are becoming a resource for investigating possible insurance fraud.