Teachable moment: Cleveland woman falsifies student status, must repay BWC $54,000

kori-white-booking-photoA Cleveland woman pleaded guilty Monday, Sept. 19, to workers’ compensation fraud after investigators found she deceived the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) about her student status to collect nearly $54,000 in dependent death benefits over four years.

Kori White, 26, pleaded guilty to a first-degree misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. Prior to her plea, White paid $10,000 toward her restitution to BWC, leaving her with a balance owed of $43,782.

“The sad part about this case is that money was supposed to support this young woman’s educational endeavors,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison. “Now it’s a debt that represents poor choices and a missed opportunity.”

A judge sentenced White to community control for five years, under the conditions she obtain a job or undergo job training and make regular payments toward her BWC balance. She will have to serve 120 days in jail if she violates the terms of her community control.

BWC’s Special Investigation Department began investigating White after reviewing a group of dependent death benefit recipients. Investigators found she was submitting college enrollment forms to BWC to show she was enrolled in full-time classes at the University of Akron, Cuyahoga Community College or Lakeland Community College from January 2009 to December 2013. However, White did not attend classes or dropped them after the paperwork was submitted, both actions that made her ineligible for continued benefits.

To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov.

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