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The following article is a general news item provided for the benefit of members. Its contents do not necessarily reflect the views of the Safety Institute of Australia.
Date: 
Tuesday, 11 June, 2019 - 17:30
Category: 
Incidents & prosecutions
Location: 
Victoria

A roof tiler caught working while receiving weekly payments from Victoria’s workers compensation scheme has been ordered to repay more than $80,000.

Joshua Bunn, 29, pleaded guilty in the Geelong Magistrates Court to one rolled-up charge of fraudulently obtaining $81,260 in compensation payments.

Bunn was convicted, ordered to repay the money and placed on a 12-month community corrections order that requires him to perform 200 hours of community work and undergo medical assessment and treatment as directed.

The court heard that on Bunn’s first day of employment as a roof tiler on 24 October 2016, he claimed that he fell from a wet, slippery roof and suffered knee and ankle injuries.

Bunn’s compensation claim was accepted by WorkSafe in November 2016 and in March 2017 liability for a back injury was also accepted as part of his claim.

The court was told Bunn continued to submit certificates declaring him unfit for any work, until his payments were terminated for fraud in April 2018 after he was observed working to repair a roof.

An investigation of Bunn’s financial records revealed multiple payments between January 2017 and March 2018 from a roofing company.

Other one-off payments matched jobs displayed on Bunn’s social media pages for his business.

The court heard Bunn received payments totalling $25,116 from two roofing companies but failed to tell WorkSafe that he had resumed paid employment and regularly advised the agent that he had not earned any income.

WorkSafe Victoria’s insurance business unit executive director Shane O’Dea said compensation payments are there only to assist workers injured at work.

“The scheme was set up to give injured workers support and treatment to get better and return to work when it is safe to do so,” he said.

“It is made very clear that compensation payments are not there to supplement income while working.

“The vast majority of injured workers do the right thing but those who defraud the system for their own benefit will be held to account.”