Podcast: Billion Dollar Scam

Published Apr 4, 2016

California’s workers’ compensation program covers 15 million workers across the state. If you get hurt on the job – fall off a ladder, for instance – it’s the system you turn to. Most employers are required to carry workers’ comp insurance, which helps cover medical bills and lost wages for injured employees.

But Reveal reporter Christina Jewett has discovered serious fraud in the system after reviewing thousands of documents. They show that in the last decade, more than 80 people have been accused of cheating California’s workers’ comp medical system out of $1 billion.

Jewett and producer Delaney Hall tell the story using an undercover law enforcement wiretap and the accounts of a worker, employer and investigator.

Host Al Letson then sits down with Jewett to really dig into what it is that makes workers’ comp such an easy target for people who want to take advantage of it.

And finally, we revisit a story about the bogus screws that ended up in spines of surgery patients. You can consider it the prequel to the main investigation …


  • Read: Profiteering masquerades as medical care for injured California workers
  • A history of corruption: How California’s health care system for workers forgot about fraud
  • Previously on Reveal: Medical firm profited on pain with knockoff spine surgery hardware
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