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Cosa Mesa Cop Convicted of Fraud

Happy Wednesday, dear readers!

California workers’ compensation law provides a tempting target for assigning blame for non-industrial injuries.  The word of the applicant carries enough weight and the bar is so low that often enough, non-industrial injuries can be covered as if they were sustained in the service of an employer.

Well, sometimes these claims lead to workers’ compensation fraud investigations.

Back in July of 2015, the OC Register reported that Ryan Patrick Natividad , of the Costa Mesa Police Department, was charged with insurance fraud related to his September 2014 claim that he struck his first against a wall while transporting a prisoner.  As you know, your humble blogger does not like to name names based solely on accusations, so if this gentleman is being named, there’s more to this than pointing fingers.

Well, just recently, Mr. Natividad was convicted of insurance fraud.  It looks like applicant listed a jail employee witness to bolster his claim.  However, the employee then reviewed surveillance footage and discovered that no such incident occurred, and an investigation was launched.

Now, here’s a though – if you were arrested by Mr. Natividad at any point in his career or if Mr. Natividad provided witness testimony that led to your conviction, don’t you think now would be a good time to reopen your case based on Mr. Natividad’s now non-existent credibility?  Don’t you think that the government’s resources are going to be severely strained trying to answer this fresh wave of challenges based on this gentleman’s conduct?

The vast majority of people in California have nothing to do with the city of Costa Mesa, so what possible benefit is this story to the rest of us?

Whether prompted or not, the worker in this case listed a witness to bolster his claim.  Not only did the witness deny seeing this, but also took the affirmative step of finding video that disproved the claim.  The insurer also took the necessary steps to investigate the claim and prepare a referral to the district attorney.

Perhaps we could all learn from this – work areas would benefit from video recording.  The technology involved is not nearly as expensive as it once was, and the manpower necessary to review these videos is pretty small given that they would only be reviewed in the event that a claim was filed.  A lot of injuries will not benefit from video – the cumulative traumas, the off-site injuries, and the psyche claims, but the specific injuries should.

And, aside from justice being served, providing a basis to deny and fight workers’ compensation claims keeps an employer’s x-mod down, which might help recoup the costs of a simple camera installation.

So, what do you think, dear readers?  Is it worth putting cameras up all over the workforce in the hopes deterring or defeating workers’ comp claims?

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