A man who defrauded WorkSafe Victoria of nearly $18,500 has been ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid community work after claiming workers compensation benefits to which he was not entitled.
Ronald Melrose Burgess of Sunshine West pleaded guilty to one charge of fraudulently obtaining payments of $18,477.20, and one charge of providing false information on 15 certificates of capacity.
Magistrate Gerard Lethbridge said Burgess persistently and deliberately rorted the workers’ compensation system, and that had it not been for his lack of priors, he would have gone to jail.
A conviction for dishonesty offences was a significant penalty that could affect long-term prospects and have a serious effect on someone’s life, according to Dave McQueen, director of WorkSafe’s enforcement group.
“The 160 hours of unpaid community work – the equivalent of more than four weeks full-time work – imposed by the court in this case means a lot of personal time will also be absorbed.”
The director of WorkSafe’s return to work division, Dorothy Frost, said people could receive benefits if working part or full-time, but they had to declare it.
“WorkSafe’s view is that returning to work is good for individuals when it is safe for them to do so. They remain in contact with people and retain skills and morale.
“Employers have a legal responsibility to facilitate this process, but injured workers must declare on their WorkSafe forms that they have been working.”