Comp Fraud Follows a Different Drummer

May 10th, 2007 by

Let’s get down and funky. Valerie Scroggins is a drummer for ESG, a group she founded in the South Bronx with her sisters some 25 years ago. According to Wikipedia, ESG has been influential in a wide range of musical genres, including hip hop, post punk, disco, and dance-punk. Not exactly my taste in music, but who cares. Let’s get down!
We read in the New York Times that Valerie, in her working life, drives a bus for the New York City Transit Authority. Or at least she did until last September, when she hurt her shoulder and went out on workers comp. Then the band went to Europe on tour – and Valerie went with them. An investigator for the self-insured Transit Authority drew the lucky straw and followed the band to Amsterdam and Dublin, where he filmed Valerie happily playing her drums.
“She’s pretty good,” remarked Charles Hynes, the District Attorney. Alas, the party-pooping Hynes has indicted Scroggins on charges of grand larceny and insurance fraud.
Ms. Scroggins lawyer, Stacey Richman, points out that Valerie had been put out of work by two doctors. As for the drum playing, Ms. Richman responded with a classic line that belongs in a Bartlett’s for Attorneys: “I don’t believe there’s any movement that conflicts with the medical diagnosis.” Heck, banging the skins just might be what the physical therapist ordered!
This slightly sordid tale brings to mind the original quote from Henry David Thoreau:

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

Which we paraphrase:

If a chick gets tired of driving the bus, perhaps she really is a drummer. Let her boogie to the music she makes with her sisters, very loud and very far away indeed.

At least until she’s indicted. Makes me want to turn up the volume and play a couple of tracks from an old ESG album: “I can’t tell you what to do” and “Crash.”
Which brings to mind another Thoreau quote: Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. With one caveat: try to do it within the law.