STATEN ISLAND (PIX11) – A Staten Island man was arrested for allegedly faking COVID-19 test results to get workers’ compensation benefits, authorities announced Wednesday.
Ajani Shaw, 23, was arraigned Tuesday on several charges, including grand larceny, insurance fraud, forgery, falsifying business records and workers’ compensation fraudulent practices, New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang said. The incidents occurred over five consecutive months in 2020.
Shaw, who was working as a part-time kitchen service employee at Staten Island’s Seaview Nursing Home in March 2020, filed a workers’ compensation claim for COVID-19 exposure. This included an “out-of-work” note signed by a physician dated on April 3, 2020 and a positive COVID test to the insurance carrier dated five days later, according to officials.
Shaw had later emailed additional documents in support of extending his claim and benefits, the inspector general alleged. Shaw continued to receive benefits through July 24, 2020, which was when the carrier noticed many of the positive test results used the same specimen ID, authorities said.
Investigation determined that the notes from April 2020 were legitimate, but a June 2020 note prescribing additional weeks of quarantine were fraudulent. Authorities determined Shaw had submitted six fake positive test reports to the insurance carrier. Shaw had received $150 per week in benefits, totaling $1,761 in payments.
“Workers’ Compensation insurance is essential to the success of our state’s workforce and businesses, and all the more so during times of crisis,” said Lang. “Thanks to our partners at the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office for helping ensure the integrity of this vital safety net.”