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A former Riverside Transit Authority worker has pleaded guilty to worker’s comp fraud charges. RTA issued a statement that George Bateman, 46, of Corona pleaded guilty March 7 to one count of insurance fraud, resulting in 180 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. He was sentenced on May 30.

According to the story in the Press Enterprise, Bateman was placed on permanent disability in February 2012 after complaining of neck, shoulder and back pain. DA investigators began monitoring Bateman following his medical leave and reports of fraud. During the investigation, which combined the efforts of both RTA and the DA’s office, Bateman was observed operating his own limousine service, and he was videotaped driving, handling customer luggage, lifting bags of ice, tire rims and cases of water without any sign of restriction. Employees who are on TTD are required to report any outside income. Bateman did not report any income from his limousine business.

Roughly 360 RTA employees are covered by workers’ compensation, which provides for medical treatment and loss of earnings that result from work-related injuries.

“Workers’ compensation fraud is not a victimless crime,”said RTA Chairman of the Board Marion Ashley. “We are committed to detecting and deterring fraud in workers’ compensation by any means possible.”

The Riverside District Attorney’s Office has a designated unit of two deputy district attorneys and six senior investigators who are specially tasked to investigate and prosecute workers’ compensation fraud. Because of the huge impact this type of fraud has on the community it is one of District Attorney Paul Zellerbach’s priorities since he’s been in office.