Two area residents were among 18 people arrested recently in a statewide crackdown on workers' compensation fraud, according to a media release from the state Department of Financial Services.

Benjamin M. Lawsky, superintendent of the Financial Services, announced the arrests Friday in a media release, calling workers' compensation fraud "a serious crime that victimizes honest businesses and taxpayers who are forced to shoulder the burden of higher premiums."

The arrests were the result of a series of joint investigations led by the DFS, with support from the Office of the Inspector General of the state Workers' Compensation Board, the state Insurance Fund and other insurers.

Locally, Susan Gridley, 61, of Schuyler Lake, and Patricia Wilcox, 60, of Oxford, were among those charged with fraud.

The agency alleges that Gridley collected $4,700 in benefits while failing to disclose to the NYSIF that she was working as a horse boarder and trainer.

Wilcox is accused of fraudulently collecting $12,900 in benefits from an ankle injury Wilcox said occurred while working as a teacher's aide. According to the release, investigators determined that her injury actually happened at home.

According to the agency, workers' compensation fraud costs consumers millions of dollars every year in the form of increased insurance premiums and higher prices for goods and services.

"We can all help fight worker's compensation fraud. If you suspect insurance fraud, report it to the Department of Financial Services' Insurance Fraud Bureau, " Lawsky said in the release.

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