New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro announced the arrest and arraignment of an Oswego County court stenographer who routinely added zeros to billing invoices to insurance carrier clients over the course of several years, resulting in her alleged theft of more than $187,000.
Laura Hayes, 47, of Phoenix in Oswego County, was arrested and arraigned February 18 on the charge of Grand Larceny in the 2nd Degree (C Felony) in Oswego County Court before Hon. Robert Wood. She is due back in court March 25.
Hayes is the owner and operator of Quality Court Reporting, a stenographic service in Central New York. Court reporting fees are paid by the carrier in workers’ compensation proceedings. The Workers’ Compensation Fraud Inspector General received multiple complaints from insurance carriers alleging that she was overbilling for services provided.
The Inspector General’s investigation found that Hayes would regularly submit bills to the carriers for services for approximately 10-times the appropriate value by simply adding a zero at the end of her invoice (e.g. $150 would become $1,500).
In all, the Inspector General’s Offices found that Hayes overbilled four insurance carriers for $187,700.
“This alleged scheme to steal from the workers’ compensation system was brazen in its simplicity – but nonetheless grossly illegal,” said Inspector General Tagliafierro. “By simply adding zeros to invoices, this individual was paid money she didn’t earn.”
Inspector General Tagliafierro thanked the New York State Police for assisting in the arrest and the office of Oswego County District Attorney Gregory S. Oakes for handling the prosecution.
The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.