Article 5. Workers' Compensation Misrepresentations. Unlawful acts.
(a) In enacting this section, the Legislature declares that there exists a compelling interest in eliminating fraud in the workers' compensation system. The Legislature recognizes that the conduct prohibited by this section is, for the most part, already subject to criminal penalties pursuant to other provisions of law. However, the Legislature finds and declares that the addition of civil money penalties will provide necessary enforcement flexibility. The Legislature, in exercising its plenary authority related to workers' compensation, declares that these sections are both necessary and carefully tailored to combat the fraud and abuse that is rampant in the workers' compensation system.
(b) It is unlawful to do any of the following:
(1) Willfully misrepresent any fact in order to obtain workers' compensation insurance at less than the proper rate.
(2) Present or cause to be presented any knowingly false or fraudulent written or oral material statement in support of, or in opposition to, any claim for compensation for the purpose of obtaining or denying any compensation, as defined in Section 3207.
(3) Knowingly solicit, receive, offer, pay, or accept any rebate, refund, commission, preference, patronage, dividend, discount, or other consideration, whether in the form of money or otherwise as, compensation or inducement for soliciting or referring clients or patients to obtain services or benefits pursuant to Division 4 (commencing with Section 3200) unless the payment or receipt of consideration for services other than the referral of clients or patients is lawful pursuant to Section 650 of the Business and Professions Code or expressly permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar.
(4) Knowingly operate or participate in a service that, for profit, refers or recommends clients or patients to obtain medical or medical-legal services or benefits pursuant to Division 4 (commencing with Section 3200).
(5) Knowingly assist, abet, solicit, or conspire with any person who engages in an unlawful act under this section.
(c) For the purposes of this section, "statement" includes, but is not limited to, any notice, proof of, injury, bill for services, payment for services, hospital or doctor records, X-ray, test results, medical-legal expenses as defined in Section 4620, or other evidence of loss, expense, or payment.
(d) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be subject, in addition to any other penalties that may be prescribed by law, to a civil penalty of not less than two thousand dollars ($2,000) nor more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), plus an assessment of not more than three times the amount of the medical treatment expenses paid pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 4600) and medical-legal expenses paid pursuant to Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 4620) for each claim for compensation submitted in violation of this section.
(e) Any person who violates subdivision (b) and who has a prior felony conviction of an offense set forth in Section 1871.1 or 1871.4 of the Insurance Code, or in Section 549 of the Penal Code, shall be subject, in addition to the penalties set forth in subdivision (d), to a civil penalty of two thousand dollars ($2,000) for each item or service with respect to which a violation of subdivision (b) occurred.
(f) The penalties provided for in subdivision (d) and (e) shall be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in the name of the people of the State of California by any district attorney.
(g) In assessing the amount of the civil penalty the court shall consider any one or more of the relevant circumstances presented by any of the parties to the case, including, but not limited to, the following the nature and seriousness of the misconduct, the number of violations, the persistence of the misconduct, the length of time over which the misconduct occurred, the willfulness of the defendant's misconduct, and the defendant's assets, liabilities, and net worth.
(h) All penalties collected pursuant to this section shall be paid to the Workers' Compensation Fraud Account in the Insurance Fund pursuant to Section 1872.83 of the Insurance Code. All costs incurred by district attorneys in carrying out this article shall be funded from the Workers' Compensation Fraud Account. It is the intent of the Legislature that the program instituted by this article be supported entirely from funds produced by moneys deposited into the Workers' Compensation Fraud Account from the imposition of civil money penalties for workers' compensation fraud collected pursuant to this section All moneys claimed by district attorneys as costs of carrying out this article shall be paid pursuant to a determination by the Fraud Assessment Commission established by Section 1872.83 of the Insurance Code and on appropriation by the Legislature.
(Amended by Stats. 1993, Ch. 1242, Sec. 26.)