New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang says a Wayne County woman has been sentenced after admitting to stealing $15,027 in workers’ compensation benefits by abusing her role as power of attorney for her late mother.
A joint investigation by the Inspector General, the New York State Department of Financial Services, and the New York State Police found that Ficarro’s mother passed away on August 20, 2019. However, Ficarro obtained and stole workers’ compensation funds intended for her mother from August 20, 2019 to August 4, 2020 from Bedivere Insurance Company totaling $10,683, and from August 20, 2019 to July 27, 2020 from the New York State Insurance Fund totaling $4,344. All funds were issued to Ficarro’s deceased mother but stolen by Ficarro in her role as power of attorney.
Michelle M. Ficarro, 55, of Newark, was sentenced in Newark Village Court to three weekends in the Wayne County Jail and three years’ probation, during which time she is required to pay full restitution. She pleaded guilty on December 1, 2021 to Petit Larceny, after previously being arrested and arraigned on two counts of Grand Larceny in the third degree.
In total, Ficarro defrauded the workers’ compensation system by stealing $15,027 in benefits to which she was not entitled.
“For more than a century, New York State has protected the rights of employees and employers though Workers’ Compensation,” Inspector General Lang said. “Defrauding this system is not just theft from the state, it is a betrayal to the communities who rely on this vital support.” She thanked the New York State Department of Financial Services – Criminal Investigation Bureau and the New York State Police for their partnership in the investigation and Wayne County District Attorney Michael Calarco and his office for prosecuting the matter.
The matter was handled by Investigative Counsel Jill Florkowski and Investigator Maren Robinson-Traber under the supervision of Deputy Inspector General for the Western Regional Office Jeffrey Hagen, Chief of Investigations for the Western Regional Office Charles Tirone and Attorney In Charge of Workers’ Compensation Fraud Bryan Richmond. The case was also investigated by DFS Deputy Chief Investigator Bill Fedrau. Wayne County Assistant District Attorneys John J. Ferlicca and Tracey Fox worked with the Inspector General’s Office and facilitated the plea and forthcoming restitution order.
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