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Worker allegedly fakes COVID for comp benefits

Posted On: Jan. 20, 2022 10:37 AM CST


New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang announced Wednesday the arrest and indictment of a Staten Island, New York, man who allegedly falsified multiple COVID-19 test results over five consecutive months in 2020 to obtain workers compensation benefits.

Ajani Shaw was arraigned on Tuesday in Richmond County Supreme Court on several felony counts, including grand larceny, insurance fraud, and falsifying business records, and workers compensation fraudulent practices.

In March 2020, Mr. Shaw was working as a part-time kitchen service employee at Staten Island’s Seaview Nursing Home when he filed a workers comp claim for exposure to COVID-19, providing an “out-of-work” note signed by a physician and proof of a positive COVID-19 test.

His employer’s insurer began paying him $150 a week in benefits.

In the following months — from April to August — Mr. Shaw submitted seven additional COVID-19 positive test and “out-of-work” notes from a doctor. The insurer continued to pay benefits through July 24, which is when the insurer noticed that many of the positive test results used the same specimen identification, according to the inspector general.

The investigation determined that Mr. Shaw submitted two legitimate COVID-19 positive test results in April 2020 and had two appointments with a physician that same month but was not seen again until August 2020. In total, the investigation found that Mr. Shaw submitted six fabricated positive test reports to the insurer in addition to a false medical note.