December 16, 2017

NY Man Stole Deceased Woman’s Workers’ Comp Benefits

Albany, NY – New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott recently announced the arrest of a City of Buffalo man who stole nearly $10,000 in Workers’ Compensation benefits meant for the woman he previously lived with and cared for but who had actually passed away two years earlier.

Michael Barton, 57, of Buffalo, was charged with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a felony.

An investigation by Inspector General Leahy Scott found that Barton and an accomplice regularly cashed Workers’ Compensation benefit checks belonging to the woman he lived with and who passed away in July 2012. Nonetheless, Barton and his accomplice continued cashing her checks through September of 2014 as if she were still alive. Workers’ Compensation benefits are meant to cease upon the death of a recipient.

In total, Barton and his accomplice defrauded the Workers’ Compensation system by stealing $9,953 in benefits to which they were not entitled. The investigation is continuing.

“For two years this defendant engaged in a morbid and shameful fraud enriching himself with nearly $10,000 in benefits to which he was not entitled,” said Inspector General Leahy Scott. “I will dedicate the resources of my office to protect a benefits program meant to assist honest, hard-working New Yorkers.”

Barton was arraigned in Buffalo City Court and is due back in court on February 27th.

Inspector General Leahy Scott thanked the New York State Police for their assistance with the arrest, and Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn and his office for prosecuting this matter.

The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

Source: NY Inspector General

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