BWC secures 13 fraud convictions in January

Work comp cheats owe more than $66K

BWC is owed more than $66,000 in restitution from claimants and employers who were convicted and sentenced in January on fraud-related charges.

That total will likely grow, as three of the 13 claimants convicted last month still await sentencing.

“Workers’ comp cheats raise the costs for everyone else in the system,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison. “The money we recoup from these cases will go where it rightfully belongs — caring for those who are legitimately injured on the job and creating safe workplaces across Ohio.”

Those convicted include:

Ruth Shelhart-Holleran of Hilliard, Ohio — Working and Receiving
BWC’s Special Investigations Department found Shelhart-Holleran was working while receiving BWC benefits after finding her name in a cross match with the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services. Shelhart-Holleran pleaded guilty Jan. 30 in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. A judge set restitution at $8,366.

Edgardo Ocasio of Cleveland, Ohio — Working and Receiving
Acting on a tip, investigators found Ocasio working as a mechanic while receiving BWC benefits. Ocasio pleaded guilty Jan. 30 in Franklin County to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. He was ordered to pay $2,522 in restitution. Additionally, he was sentenced to a three-month suspended jail sentence and put on community control for three years.

Robert Beasley of Cleveland, Ohio — Working and Receiving
Beasley must pay $7,065 in restitution after pleading guilty Jan. 26 to a misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud. A Franklin County judge also sentenced Beasley to three years of community control after suspending a 180-day jail sentence. Investigators found Beasley working as a cleaner while receiving BWC benefits.

Brenda Fletcher of Delaware, Ohio — Working and Receiving
Undercover investigators found Fletcher working as a bartender while receiving BWC benefits. Fletcher was found guilty Jan. 18 by a jury in Delaware County on one count each of workers’ compensation fraud and theft, both fourth-degree felonies. Fletcher is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 27.

Roland Samons, dba Shafer Brothers Body Shop, of Ironton, Ohio — Lapsed Coverage
Samons pleaded guilty Jan. 18 in Lawrence County to one count of attempted workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor, after failing to establish a payment plan for unpaid BWC premiums. He was sentenced to a six-month suspended jail sentence and placed on probation for three years. He was ordered to pay $5,687 in restitution.

Andrea Menendez, dba Spring Clean Maids, of Warren, Ohio — Lapsed Coverage
Menendez pleaded guilty Jan. 12 in Warren Municipal Court to one count of failure to comply, a second-degree misdemeanor, for failing to pay premiums owed to BWC. She was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay court costs and to bring her company into BWC compliance. She paid $1,000 toward her past-due balance of $3,884.

Tony Harn of Columbus, Ohio — Falsified Wages
Investigators started looking at Harn after learning he had filed a suspicious wage earnings statement with BWC, a document needed to calculate his injured workers’ benefits. Harn pleaded guilty Jan. 9 in Franklin County to one count of workers’ compensation fraud and one count of theft, both misdemeanors of the first degree. A judge ordered Harn to pay $12,861 in restitution and sentenced him to 180 days in jail on each count. The judge then suspended the jail sentence and placed Harn on two years of community control.

William Seckler of Andover Village, Ohio — Working and Receiving
Investigators found Seckler working as a delivery driver for an Amish roofing company while receiving BWC benefits. Seckler must pay BWC $14,520 in restitution and $2,530 in investigative costs after pleading guilty to workers’ compensation fraud Jan. 3 in Franklin County. A judge also ordered Seckler to serve 180 days in jail, suspended, and four years of community control for his crime, a first-degree misdemeanor.

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