AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Department of Insurance says the owner of a popular East Austin barbecue spot and her manager have been indicted for their alleged role in a $350,000 workers' compensation fraud scheme.
Allison Clem, manager of la Barbecue, and her wife, LeAnn Mueller, who owns the food truck and restaurant are both ordered to appear in Travis County District Court on September 28.
In a news release, the Texas Department of Insurance says that back in 2016, an employee of the restaurant suffered severe injuries while operating a piece of kitchen equipment, and Clem and Mueller found out about the injury that day. Four days later, Clem contacted Paychex Insurance to get workers’ compensation coverage, something the restaurant had been without since November 2014.
According to a Fraud Unit investigation by the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC), Clem did not disclose her employee’s injuries to the agent but asked that the new policy be backdated to July 1, 2016, three weeks before the employee was hurt. Mueller then submitted a signed application for coverage claiming the business had no prior losses and the policy was approved by Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America.
The news release says that when Travelers received the claim for the employee’s injury, they approved the claim and paid the injured employee more than $350,000 in medical and indemnity benefits. The insurance company is also responsible for lifetime care of the injured employee.
If found guilty in Travis County, Clem and Mueller, could be ordered to pay restitution plus double the amount Travelers has already paid in benefits to the injured worker.