Employment scheme implicates girlfriend
A Lancaster man must pay the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation nearly $7,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to workers’ compensation fraud Monday for a scheme that could land his girlfriend in court as well.
Charles Malone, 43, worked for a heating and air conditioning company for six months in 2016 while simultaneously collecting injured worker benefits from BWC. To hide his employment, he duped his employer into issuing his paychecks to his girlfriend in her name.
“He gave his employer a plausible explanation, and they fell for it,” said Jim Wernecke, director of BWC’s special investigations department. “As for the girlfriend, she could also face charges for her role in helping Mr. Malone defraud our agency.”
A judge in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas sentenced Malone to 180 days in jail, the maximum for a first-degree misdemeanor. He then suspended the jail sentence for five years of community control (probation) under the condition that Malone maintains employment and pays BWC $6,879 in restitution.
To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov.