It’s a sad state of affairs when someone will exploit having COVID-19 and submit fake COVID-19 tests just so they can stay home from work and collect workers’ compensation benefits. But that’s exactly what happened.
Ajani Shaw, a 23-year-old man from Staten Island, was arrested last week. Allegedly, he faked multiple positive COVID-19 test over five months.
The reasons for submitting the fake test: weeks of staying home from work in quarantine and almost $2,000 in benefits.
According to the NY Inspector General Lucy Lang, Shaw has been charged with:
- grand larceny
- insurance fraud
- falsifying business records, and
- workers’ compensation fraudulent practices.
Forged physician’s note
He worked at Staten Island’s Seaview Nursing Home as a part-time kitchen services worker in April 2020. During that time, he filed a workers’ compensation claim for exposure to COVID-19, a physician’s note from Staten Island’s Advantage Care Physicians, as well as a positive test. This garnered him $150 a week in workers’ compensation.
He continued to submit seven more positive COVID-19 tests and two additional “out-of-work” notes from his physician stating he should continue to stay home through August.
Shaw received benefits through July 24, 2020.
Shaw’s scheme ended, however, when the insurance carrier noticed some of his test results used the same specimen ID.
Not all COVID-19 tests were fake
The investigation found that not everything was fake. Shaw submitted two legit COVID-19 positive test results in April 2020, and he had two legit doctor appointments in April 2020. However, the other six positive tests and medical note were all fake.
“Workers’ Compensation insurance is essential to the success of our state’s workforce and businesses, and all the more so during times of crisis,” Lang said. “Thanks to our partners at the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office for helping ensure the integrity of this vital safety net.”
While you hope and pray your employees would never do something like this, you never really know. Make sure you have procedures in place to guarantee this doesn’t happen.
We’ll keep you posted with any updates on this case.