New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang today announced the guilty plea of a Kenmore woman who fraudulently collected over $30,000 in workers’ compensation wage indemnity benefits by falsely claiming that she was unable to work as a result of a disability.
The defendant, Antoinette Laney, 53, of Kenmore, pleaded guilty today in Erie County Court before Honorable Kenneth Case to Grand Larceny in the 4th degree, an E felony under section 155.30 of the NYS Penal Law. As part of the plea, Laney signed a confession of judgment to pay full restitution and faces a maximum of 4 years in prison when she is sentenced in Erie County Court on December 19, 2022.
“Workers’ Compensation benefits provide a vital safety net for New Yorkers who are legitimately injured on the job” said New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang. “My office will remain focused on rooting out fraud such as this to make sure that the system works for those workers and their families who truly need it.”
Laney worked as a bus driver for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) at the time of her claimed May 15, 2017, injury. She subsequently submitted at least fifteen (15) NFTA Workers’ Compensation Thirty-Day Reports, which included false representations to the NFTA relative to her physical ability and work activity, and made false representations to medical providers tasked with treating and assessing her work-related injury
An investigation by the office of Inspector General Lang, who also serves as the Workers’ Compensation Inspector General, found that between September of 2018 and October of 2019, Laney misrepresented the degree and extent of her disability, as well as her ability to work. The investigation also revealed that during this time period Laney was working as a personal shopper and grocery delivery driver. Records confirmed that Laney was working for Instacart, shopping for and delivering grocery items to individuals, including heavy items such as packages of bottled water.
As a result of her misrepresentations, Laney fraudulently obtained workers’ compensation benefits from the NFTA, in the amount of $30,212.69.
Senior Investigator Maren E. Robinson-Traber, Investigative Counsel Jill Florkowski, Chief Investigator Charles Tirone, and Deputy Inspector General for the Western Regional Office Jeffrey Hagen, led the investigation for the Inspector General’s Office.
Inspector General Lang thanked Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn and his office for prosecuting the matter.