Public Safety

Billboards Warn Against Workers’ Comp Fraud

A public awareness campaign aimed at curbing workers’ compensation fraud will feature 65 billboards and transit shelter posters placed across San Diego County, the District Attorney’s Office announced today. 

Workers’ compensation fraud costs California consumers an estimated $4 billion every year.  The DA’s Office hopes the campaign will make people think twice before committing the crime.

“Workers’ compensation fraud increases when the economy struggles. Ultimately, the crime hits all of us in our wallets,” said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.  “This anti-fraud message will be seen by an estimated 1 million people every day in San Diego County.”

Workers’ compensation fraud is committed by employees faking an injury; by employers denying employee benefits, failing to report accurate payroll or having no insurance at all; and by healthcare and legal providers billing for services not rendered. In the last four years, the District Attorney’s Office has obtained workers’ compensation fraud convictions against 399 defendants and restitution orders of more than $6 million.  Currently, 289 cases are under investigation.

“Fighting insurance fraud is one of my top priorities as Insurance Commissioner,” said California Commissioner Dave Jones. “I am pleased to partner with the San Diego County District Attorney in this public awareness campaign reminding the public that committing insurance fraud is illegal.”

The District Attorney’s Office has an entire division dedicated to reducing insurance fraud that works closely with the California Department of Insurance.  Since 2008, the DA’s Office anti-fraud effort has leveraged grant funding to produce: a direct mailer to 180,000 employers; ads running on 340 movie screens; billboards on freeways; 200,000 posters in English and Spanish for the workplace; anti-fraud messages running in dozens of ethnic publications; presentations to Chambers of Commerce and community groups; and public service announcements on television.

Dennis Jay, Executive Director of the Washington D.C.-based Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, praised the DA’s proactive approach.  “The DA’s outreach campaign issues a firm and convincing warning that workers’ comp fraud doesn’t work. Only by continually reinforcing this message can we strengthen a culture of workplace honesty and turn the corner on a selfish crime that raises costs for honest businesses throughout the county.”

The new public awareness campaign is funded through a grant from the California Workers’ Compensation Fraud Assessment Commission and the California Department of Insurance.

Donald C. Marshall, Chairman of the Fraud Assessment Commission said, “Public outreach remains one of the important components of a successful anti-fraud program.  District Attorney Dumanis understands how educating the public about the consequences of committing workers’ compensation fraud can act as a deterrent and this current campaign is a continuation of her commitment toward that goal.”

Lamar Advertising and CBS Outdoor contributed to this anti-fraud effort by significantly reducing their rates.  The billboards are scattered strategically across the County and can be seen throughout the month of November.

The public may contact the Insurance Fraud Division of the DA’s Office with questions and can report suspected fraud at 800-315-7672.