New York State
James J. Wrynn Superintendent of Insurance 25 Beaver Street New York, N.Y. 10004
|ISSUED 08/02/2010||FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
Workers’ compensation benefits are designed to help people stay afloat financially after they can’t get back to work because of job-related injuries. But you can’t legally get those benefits if you’re sitting in jail.
A Kingston woman learned that lesson July 26 when she was sentenced to 30 days in jail for enabling an inmate to continue to receive wage replacement benefits while he was serving time in Ulster County jail.
Mindy Berger, 38, of Henry Street, will now go to the same jail after pleading guilty to possession of a forged instrument in Ulster County Court. She was also ordered to serve five years probation and reimburse the New York State Insurance Fund $300.
Berger was arrested after an investigation by the New York State Insurance Department’s Frauds Bureau and the Insurance Fund.
Investigators discovered that Berger improperly filled out and signed the inmate’s name on work status reports sent to the Insurance Fund while the inmate was in jail. The reports falsely stated that the individual was not serving a jail sentence. As a result, the inmate received $300 in benefits he was not entitled to receive.
Before being incarcerated, the inmate had been receiving the workers’ compensation benefits as the result of a job-related injury. State law forbids the payment of workers’ compensation benefits to individuals serving jail or prison sentences.