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Barbecue restaurant owner cooks up fraud scheme


The owner of an Austin, Texas, restaurant and her manager have been indicted for their alleged role in a $350,000 workers compensation fraud scheme, the Texas Department of Insurance announced Tuesday.

In 2016, after an employee was injured while operating kitchen equipment, Allison Clem, manager of la Barbecue, and her wife, LeAnn Mueller, who owns the enterprise, worked to fraudulently and successful obtain workers compensation coverage, according to the department.

Specifically, four days after the incident, Ms. Clem contacted Paychex Insurance to get workers compensation coverage, something the restaurant had been without since November 2014.

According to a Fraud Unit investigation, Ms. Clem did not disclose her employee’s injuries to the agent but asked that the new policy be backdated to July 1, 2016, three weeks before the employee was hurt. Ms. Mueller then submitted a signed application for coverage claiming the business had no prior losses and the policy was approved by Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America, which eventually paid $350,000 in medical and indemnity costs for the employee’s injury.