Cleveland-area bartender served felony conviction for workers’ comp fraud

Euclid woman owes BWC more than $25K in restitution

A Cleveland-area bartender must reimburse the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) more than $25,000 after pleading guilty Tuesday to a fifth-degree felony count of workers’ compensation fraud.

BWC learned in late 2016 that Euclid resident Clarice L. Ward was not attending her physical therapy appointments for her workplace injury and that the BWC-contracted company managing her care couldn’t reach her. As BWC investigated her case, the agency received an anonymous tip that Ward was working at Final Score Bar in Willowick, Ohio, while collecting BWC disability benefits.

“Ms. Ward would not cooperate with our investigators, so we interviewed her former employer and obtained evidence proving her fraudulent activity,” said Jim Wernecke, director of BWC’s special investigations department.

Ward, 40, pleaded guilty Tuesday in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, where the judge sentenced her to six months in prison, suspended for five years of community control, and ordered her to pay BWC $26,578 in restitution.

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

2 thoughts on “Cleveland-area bartender served felony conviction for workers’ comp fraud

  1. Wow! How incredible! What a story! It is too bad that it is only one sided and full of slander. Way to go BWC! You successfully incriminated a single mother trying to provide basic necessities for her newborn child while you withheld rightfully owed benefits for years! 6 surgeries later and barely able to complete the most basic task like holding or feeding her child, she took up an intermittent position that barely provided diapers for her child when she absolutely had no other choice. 26k? I just love how ignorant the details of this post are displayed. This woman never earned more than a couple hundred dollars over several years while waiting for her payments. Should she have just allowed her child to starve? Not at one moment in time did she ever not comply with all of the many hoops you had her jump through. Also, you need not take credit for the investigation and “big win” here. You were tipped off by a resentful ex family member. It sickens me that Cuyahoga county court judge couldn’t see past this madness, then again they did let a 6 time drunker driver walk away with his drivers license in hand because he was able to afford to pay 7k dollars in restitution the same day he was sentenced. This is a game of money. If this women had more of it she would have walked too and you would need to find another life to play with. She would have won. Congratulations on branding this hardworking single mother as a convicted felon. The News Herald would have had a better story to run with if they actually knew the details of the case. They could have had the largest fraud case in history if they dug deep enough into the BWC. Absolutely screwing hardworking families over for decades. Man you guys are really on top of your game. Give your self a pat on the back for slandering someone’s good name and character.

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