Columbus – Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer announced today that six individuals were convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, charges related to defrauding Ohio’s workers’ compensation system in October 2015. These court actions are the result of investigations conducted by BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID).
“Employers pay premium to BWC with the expectation that those dollars go toward the care and recovery of their workers who are injured on the job, not to dishonest claimants, employers or medical providers,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “I am pleased our investigators were able to put an end to these attempts to defraud the workers’ compensation system.”
The following is a sampling of cases that resulted in guilty pleas or convictions during October:
Krystal Knight (Toledo, Lucas County) pleaded guilty Oct. 6 in the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas to one misdemeanor count of attempted theft for forgery. An investigation by BWC’s special investigations department revealed that Knight cashed two checks from Catholic Healthcare Partners, which were self-insured disability payments issued to another claimant, Judith Burris, in July 2014. The checks, totaling $1,062, were cashed after Burris, her mother, passed away on June 29, 2014. The investigation proved that Knight signed Burris’ name on the checks and presented Burris’ license to Huntington Bank in order to cash the checks. As part of a plea agreement, Knight was sentenced to pay restitution to Catholic Healthcare Partners in the amount of $1,062, but Knight failed to make the payment. She is scheduled for sentencing on November 17, 2015.
James Orr (Bethel, Clermont County) pleaded guilty Oct. 6 in the Hamilton County Municipal Court to a fourth-degree misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct for filing a false claim. Orr filed a claim with the BWC alleging he was injured in 2010 while working at Solutions Plus in Amelia. Investigators interviewed co-workers and found that Orr had told them he hurt his back landscaping and working on his personal vehicle. A medical report noted that Orr told the doctor that he was hurt at work two days prior to the alleged injury date on the first report of injury, and had sought treatment the next day at Clermont Mercy Hospital. Investigators found that Orr had not been treated by Clermont Mercy Hospital and time cards from the employer indicated that Orr did not work on the date of the alleged injury. Orr was sentenced to three days credit in the Hamilton County Jail, court costs, and ordered to stay employed.
Ralph Dollison (Circleville, Pickaway County) pleaded guilty Oct. 28 in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to one first-degree misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. SID received an allegation that Dollison was working while receiving compensation for a workplace injury. The investigation proved Dollison worked for a concrete company as a laborer and performed duties such as digging, building forms, pouring concrete and finishing concrete. Evidence also revealed he intentionally misrepresented and withheld his employment in order to continue collecting the disability benefits. Dollison was ordered to pay $4,081.47 in restitution and placed on community control for five years. He was also sentenced to 180 days in jail, suspended as long as he complies with the community control.
Timothy Morrow (Delaware, Delaware County) pleaded guilty to one first-degree misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud on Oct. 20 in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas for working while receiving benefits. SID opened an investigation after receiving an allegation that Morrow was operating his own HVAC business while receiving disability benefits from the BWC. The investigation, which included a review of bank records and multiple interviews, confirmed Morrow did own and operate a business, TTM Mechanical, and conducted HVAC installations and repairs during the time he was receiving benefits. The evidence obtained during the course of the investigation also revealed that he intentionally misrepresented and withheld his employment from BWC. Morrow was sentenced to 30 days in the Franklin County Jail, suspended, and was placed on six months of probation. He was also ordered to pay court costs along with $8,399.74 in restitution to BWC. The restitution was paid at the clerk’s office after the hearing.
To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov.