Holidays bring convictions to 3 workers’ comp cheats

A northeast Ohio truck driver on injured workers’ benefits since 1993 is on the hook for $17,000 after pleading guilty to workers’ compensation fraud Tuesday in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

secklerWilliam Seckler, 54, of the village of Andover in Ashtabula County, must pay the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) $14,520 in restitution and $2,530 in investigative costs for working while receiving permanent total disability benefits. A judge also ordered Seckler to serve 180 days in jail, suspended, and four years of community control for the first-degree misdemeanor.

Seckler was employed as a full-time truck driver at the time of his injury in 1993. Acting on a tip, BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) started looking at him in 2014 and found him working as a delivery driver for an Amish roofing company.

In other news, a Columbus man was convicted for workers’ compensation fraud on Dec. 19 after falsifying his job search forms in order to receive non-working, wage-loss benefits from BWC.

alfonso-hooper-booking-photoAlfonso R. Hooper, 66, pleaded guilty to a first-degree misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud after SID found he falsely claimed to have applied for work at more than 40 potential employers listed on his job search forms.

A Franklin County judge sentenced Hooper to 30 days in jail, suspended, and one year of community control. The judge also ordered Hooper to pay BWC $5,000 for its investigative costs.

In a court case Dec. 30, a central Ohio man was convicted for failure to comply after BWC found he was operating four gas stations in the Youngstown area with lapsed workers’ compensation policies.

A judge in Niles Municipal Court convicted Muhammad Rashid, 36, of Hilliard, Ohio, on a minor misdemeanor count of failure to comply and fined Rashid $100 and court costs.

Rashid worked with BWC to become compliant with three policies, but not on the fourth. Rashid later filed paperwork with BWC stating he closed that business and paid the outstanding balance due of $2,824.

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

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