BWC investigators nab Central Ohio workers’ comp fugitive, land fraud conviction

michael-mitchell-booking-photoA Columbus-area man was sentenced for workers’ compensation fraud last week during a court appearance that was delayed after he failed to appear for his 2013 arraignment.

Michael M. Mitchell, 49, pleaded guilty to a fifth-degree felony count of workers’ compensation fraud in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. He was sentenced to 11 months of incarceration, suspended for five years of community control, and ordered to pay BWC $5,000 in restitution.

BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) received an allegation from the Claims Service Specialist managing Mitchell’s claim after she became suspicious that he may be working while receiving workplace injury benefits.  The investigation revealed Mitchell was self-employed as a painter and sub-contracted multiple jobs from various painting companies while also collecting benefits from BWC.  Investigators also determined Mitchell did not have current workers’ compensation coverage and altered his BWC certificate of coverage in order to secure painting jobs.

Mitchell was indicted by a Franklin County Grand Jury in 2013 but he failed to appear for his arraignment and a warrant was issued for his arrest.  SID’s Fugitive Task Force partnered with the Franklin County Sheriff’s office to locate Mitchell, who was taken into custody in March 2016.

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

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