covid fraud

Staten Island Man Allegedly Fakes COVID Tests For 5 Months to Get Workers' Comp

Positive COVID test
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A Staten Island man is facing charges after he allegedly submitted fake COVID-19 test results for five months in order to get workers' compensation benefits.

Ajani Shaw, 23, was arraigned Tuesday in Richmond County Supreme Court on multiple charges, including grand larceny, insurance fraud and seven counts each of forgery, falsifying business records and workers' compensation fraud.

According to the New York Inspector General's office, Shaw worked part time as a kitchen service employee at Seaview Nursing Home in March 2020. He filed a workers' compensation claim to an insurance carrier for a COVID exposure, including an "out-of-work" note, on April 3 that was signed by a physician, as well as a positive COVID test from April 8. The insurance company then began paying Shaw $150 per week in benefits.

Shaw later emailed more documents to the insurance carrier that appeared to be in support of extending his claim and benefits, the inspector general's office said. An additional positive COVID test dated April 19 and another "out-of-work" note from April 22 wer submitted as well. He sent in six more supposed positive COVID tests from May 8 to Aug. 8, and an "out-of-work" note prescribing four more weeks of quarantine.

Insurance continued to pay Shaw workers' compensation benefits through July 24, before the carrier realized that many of the positive results used the same specimen ID, according to the inspector general's office.

An investigation found that Shaw did submit two legitimate positive COVID tests in April 2020, and had two physician appointments that same month — but he was not seen by a doctor again until Aug 2020. While the initial two may have been legitimate, the June note that called for additional weeks of quarantine was found to be fake, the investigation determined.

In total, Shaw submitted six fake positive COVID tests, in addition to the fake medical note, the investigation found. He got more than $1.700 in payments for his alleged acts.

It wasn't clear if Shaw had hired an attorney.

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