DA Hoovler Announces Workers’ Compensation Fraud Arrest by Newly Formed White Collar Crime Unit

April 15, 2023

Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler Announces Arrest by Multi-Agency White Collar Crime Task Force

Defendant Arrested for Exaggerating Injuries in Order to Collect Workers Compensation Benefits he was not Entitled to

Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that Jason Vega, 48, of Marlboro, was arrested on April 13, 2023and charged with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and Fraudulent Practices (in violation of Workers’ Compensation Law Section 114(1)).  As the charges were not bail eligible under 2019 “bail reform” legislation, Vega was issued an appearance ticket returnable to the Town of Newburgh Justice Court.

As alleged in charging documents filed in court, between February 5, 2021 and July 3, 2021 in the Town of Newburgh, Vega presented to an insurer medical reports, in support of an application for Workers’ Compensation benefits, which indicated he was unable to perform certain physical functions and movements.  Subsequent investigation revealed that mere hours after claiming to be severely limited in his physical abilities, including his ability to walk, Vega was at a hardware store lifting and throwing heavy bags of stove pellets.  As a result of the application, Vega received in excess of $19,000 that he was not entitled to.

District Attorney Hoovler thanked the New York State Inspector General’s Office who jointly investigated the case with the newly formed Orange County White Collar Crime Task Force. The multi-agency Task Force, which includes investigators from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and several other local police agencies including the Town of Newburgh Police Department and Town of Woodbury Police Department, was created in March 2023 to focus on enhancing the investigation and prosecution of public corruption and financial crimes.  The Task Force’s mandate includes the investigation of residential contractor fraud; crimes involving public integrity, public corruption, and ethics violations; embezzlement and other complex theft cases, crimes against revenue; wage theft and labor law violations.

“White collar crime is insidious and affects all of the hard-working members of our community,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler. “Workers’ Compensation is an important benefit for those who are legitimately unable to work because of injury.  However, the manipulation of this benefit for personal greed is the antithesis of the intent of the system.  Complicated investigations such as this one are the hallmarks of the Task Force, which does important work to reinforce the public’s trust.”

“Workers’ compensation fraud has a detrimental impact on businesses, business owners, and their employees. When we created this Joint White Collar Crime Task Force, these were the results we were anticipating. We will continue to investigate these types of crimes and hold those who abuse the system accountable,” said Orange County Sheriff Paul Arteta.

“When a person defrauds the Workers’ Compensation system it harms all hardworking New Yorkers. Safeguarding this system is essential to ensure that it is available to those who truly need it and a vital part of my office’s work,” said NYS Inspector General Lucy Lang. “I extend my gratitude to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for partnering with my office to ensure that those who take advantage of this vital system are held accountable. I especially thank my dedicated team who investigated this case, including Attorney-in-Charge of Workers’ Compensation Bryan Richmond and Investigative Counsel Alexis Osborne.

The case is being prosecuted by Chief Trial Assistant District Attorney Richard Moran.

A criminal charge is merely an allegation by the police that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.