2007-02-02 / Community

Broad Channel Man Cheats Workers' Comp: District Attorney

A Broad Channel man who allegedly worked as a limousine driver while claiming to be completely disabled and unable to sit for more than two hours - while collecting thousands of dollars in workers' compensation - was recently snared with nine others in a fraud investigation, according to an announcement last week.

Vincent Jefferes, 44, is charged with third degree grand larceny and falsifying business records for allegedly collecting thousands in worker's comp dollars while also claiming that he was "totally disabled" by a back injury he suffered on August 31, 2001, according to information provided by Queens District Richard A. Brown.

Investigators obtained a copy of Jefferes' medical records in which he told Dr. James Sarno that, after being injured while working as an elevator repairman for the New York City Housing Authority, he was unable to sit down for more than an hour and-a -half to two hours without discomfort.

What Jefferes allegedly kept secret was that he was working as a driver for Atlantis Limousine in Massapequa. Investigators say they watched Jefferes on July 5, 2006, when he drove a GMC stretch SUV from his home at 1202 Cross Bay Boulevard to Suffolk County to pick up a couple - load their luggage - and then drop them off at JFK International Airport. He was to be classified "totally disabled" by the New York State Workers' Compensation Board at a hearing five days later.

Jefferes lawyer, Francisco Knipping, called the case against his client a "travesty of justice" and told The Wave Jefferes worked as a limo driver once, lifted one bag and was in so much pain from it that he never worked again.

Richard Marotte, who owned the limo company at the time, told investigators he knew Jefferes only as "Vin Man" and that he worked for him, earning $15 to $20 an hour, on weekends for about six months. He collected about $8,000 in workers' compensation - about $400 a week - from August 2001 to July, 2006.

Jefferes was one of 10 people indicted recently for allegedly defrauding the workers' comp system out of more than $110,000. District Attorney Brown was joined in announcing the indictments last Friday by New York Sate Insurance Fund Executive Director David P. Wehner, State Insurance Department Superintendent-Designate Eric Dinello and State Workers' Compensation Board Chair Donna Ferrara.

"Those who commit such frauds should know that they face serious prison time and fines for their actions," said Brown. "My office will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute individuals who abuse the system for their own benefit."

Jefferes was released on his own recognizance at his arraignment on January 23. He is due back in court on February 6.

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