News Digest 1-25-2021


California: Central Valley construction worker charged with fraud

A 45-year-old Fresno man faces multiple felony counts of insurance fraud and attempted perjury after filing a workers’ compensation claim and allegedly misleading the insurance carrier regarding his employment status in order to improperly collect disability benefits. Sierra Sun Times


Massachusetts business owner pleads guilty to fraud

The 72-year-old owner of a group of heavy equipment and construction businesses in Revere, Massachusetts pleaded guilty last week to tax and mail fraud charges stemming from a scheme to pay employees “under the table” over multiple years. The scheme reportedly netted him more than $93,000 through refunds of workers’ compensation premiums. Salem News


Watchdog reports ICE failing to prevent employment of unauthorized workers

The Homeland Security Inspector General identified multiple problems with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Worksite Enforcement program, which is intended to prevent businesses from employing people unauthorized to work in the United States. One of the issues highlighted in the report was the reduction of fines levied against employers without a recorded justification for the reductions. Just the News


West Virginia commissioner issues guidance on COVID-19 workers’ comp claims

The West Virginia Insurance Commissioner last week issued guidance for employers, workers’ compensation insurers, and self-insured employers regarding COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims, specifying employers may not advise employees that they cannot file workers’ compensation claims for COVID-19, nor may they threaten retaliation for such claims, write two attorneys with Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC. JD Supra


Many Pennsylvania employers stopping short of vaccination mandate

The latest federal guidance provides that employers have some flexibility in determining whether to require the COVID-19 vaccine, recommend it, incentivize it or simply do nothing. Under Pennsylvania’s phased rollout plan, the limited supply of vaccine coming to the state now is available only to healthcare employees, nursing home residents and staff, people over age 65 and those with certain medical conditions. For some Pennsylvanians, deciding whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine may depend on where they work. Post-Gazette