ACC fraudsters have ripped off taxpayers by more than $10
million in the past four years.
Figures released to the Herald reveal 64 people have been
convicted for ACC fraud in that period, including "injured"
clients who keep working and medical practitioners who bill
for too much treatment.
The total amount ranges from $1.8 million to $3.5 million
each year, although ACC says the scams would have cost
taxpayers much more if the fraudsters had not been caught.
Stopping the frauds saved a further $131 million, according
to figures released under the Official Information Act.
In the most recent financial year, ACC uncovered $3.5 million
of false claims. Using actuarial methodology, ACC calculated
the true cost would have been $35.9 million if the fraud was
undetected and ran its expected course.
Many fraudsters are clients who keep working while receiving
weekly compensation for lost earnings, lie about an accident,
injury or their incapacity, or make false declarations or
Among those convicted were widows who stole more than
$763,000 by claiming ACC payments for their dead partners
despite starting new relationships.
In some cases, the illegal payments went on for nearly 30
years and one woman was paid nearly $150,000.
The long-running rorts were discovered when the ACC started a
nationwide review dating back to the 1980s.
In a separate case, a married couple were convicted in
October for each making false claims.
Carl Adam Rutherford and Haley Ann Rutherford were each
sentenced to 100 hours of community work and ordered to pay
reparation of $8188 and $7683 respectively.
The Southland dairy farmers began receiving weekly
compensation from ACC after separate accidents in 2002.
Both went on to work in different jobs while receiving weekly
compensation, despite signing declarations stating that they
were not in work or receiving income that could affect their
entitlement to the compensation they were receiving.
ACC's general manager of claims management, Denise Cosgrove,
says this was a disappointing example of deliberate
offending, as the couple worked for various different
employers while continuing to claim ACC's help.
"Most New Zealanders feel a sense of repugnance at this type
of offending," Denise Cosgrove said.
"ACC exists to help people with genuine injury-related needs,
and it's disappointing to see some people use it deceitfully
for their own financial gain."
ACC also investigates medical practitioners who claim for
treatment or services not provided, or claim extra time with
clients, provide treatment when not needed or forge
Levy payers who misrepresent their levy class to minimise
levy rates, or understate or do not declare earnings to
minimise levy rates are also investigated.
2011/12: $3.5m fraud, saved $35.9m
2010/11: $3.1m fraud, saved $37m
2009/10: $1.8m fraud, saved $28.1m
2008/09: $2.1m fraud, saved $30.4m
Total: $10.5 fraud, saved $131.4m
- Jared Savage of the NZ Herald