CHATHAM CONSTRUCTION WORKER, A PREDICATE FELON,
SENTENCED TO UP TO FOUR YEARS IN PRISON FOR THEFT OF
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS AND OTHER CRIMES
ALBANY – New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott today announced the sentencing to prison of a capital region construction worker who falsely testified about his employment status and stole more than $5,000 in Workers’ Compensation benefits to which he was not entitled.
William C. Svida, 56, of Route 66, Chatham, a predicate felon, was sentenced Thursday by Columbia County Court Judge Hon. Jonathan Nichols to 2-to-4 years in state prison for the crimes of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and Attempted Perjury in the First Degree, felonies, and an unrelated charge of Driving While Intoxicated. At his sentencing appearance, Svida also paid $5,526 in restitution for the Workers’ Compensation fraud.
An investigation by Inspector General Leahy Scott found that Svida unlawfully collected Workers’ Compensation payments while working construction jobs. Specifically, in late October 2012, while working as a mechanic and operator at a paving company, Svida sustained a work-related injury to his right shoulder. He began receiving Workers’ Compensation payments in May 2013 when he stopped working. While collecting wage replacement benefits, Svida worked for a Latham building contracting company from August to October 2014. Soon after leaving his job with that company, he began working for another capital region contractor. At no time while employed by those two construction companies did Svida inform his Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier that he was working. When confronted at a Workers’ Compensation Board hearing, Svida falsely testified that he did inform the insurance carrier about his employment and that he never worked for the Latham building contractor. During that time period, Svida collected more than $5,000 in wage replacement benefits to which he was not entitled.
“This defendant’s repeated frauds and thefts are sordid additions to a long history of criminal offenses,” said Inspector General Leahy Scott. “The defendant honed his criminal instincts here to supplement his income through thefts from a critical benefits system meant to protect honest, hard-working New Yorkers. I will continue to use the powers of my office to pursue anyone who defrauds the Workers’ Compensation system.” Workers’ Compensation fraud impacts all New Yorkers, from increased insurance premiums to increased workloads for coworkers and an overall reduction in workforce productivity.
Inspector General Leahy Scott thanked the New York State Police for their assistance with the arrest, and Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka and his office for prosecuting this matter.
The New York State Office of the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Inspector General investigates fraud, abuse and/or illegal acts against the New York State Workers’ Compensation system, including fraud by medical service providers, employers seeking to evade appropriate Workers’ Compensation charges, and employees who fabricate injuries to fraudulently receive system benefits. Complaints and referrals are kept confidential. We can be reached by calling toll free: 1-800-367-4448, utilizing our online complaint form at http://www.ig.ny.gov or sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can write to our office at: Office of the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Inspector General, Empire State Plaza, Agency Building 2, 16th Floor, Albany, New York 12223