Receptionist owes BWC $19K after fraud conviction

Agency secures six convictions in January

A Bellefontaine woman who worked as a receptionist while claiming to be disabled from work owes the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation nearly $19,000 following her conviction last month on a felony workers’ compensation fraud charge.

A Franklin County judge on Jan. 16 ordered Dawn M. Hattery, 50, to reimburse BWC $17,937 and pay $1,000 in investigation costs for working while collecting BWC benefits from January to November 2017. The judge also sentenced her to five years of probation after she pleaded guilty to the fifth-degree felony.

“Ms. Hattery not only broke the law deceiving this agency, she earned a criminal record that will follow her for years to come,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “Our role is to compensate workers while they’re recovering from injury, not pad the income of people trying to cheat the system.”

In other convictions last month:

  • Marc E. Pope, 50, of Cleveland, paid BWC $23,793 in restitution Jan. 30 before his guilty plea on two first-degree misdemeanor counts of workers’ compensation fraud in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. BWC found Pope working multiple jobs while collecting disability benefits from the agency.
  • Kenneth Miller, owner of Grant Street Pallet Inc. in Lisbon, Ohio, pleaded no contest Jan. 29 to a second-degree misdemeanor count of failure to comply after entering a reinstatement payment plan with BWC. A judge sentenced Miller to 10 days in jail and fined him $750, then suspended both.
  • Larry West, owner of the Bluebird Restaurant in Norwood, paid all past-due installments and premiums on his BWC policy before pleading guilty Jan. 25 to a reduced charge of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. He was sentenced to one day in jail, then credited with time served.
  • Douglas J. Krouskoupf of Zanesville pleaded guilty Jan. 9 to a first-degree misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. A judge sentenced Krouskoupf to 180 days in jail, which he suspended on the condition Krouskoupf pay BWC $7,924 in restitution.
  • Stephan L. Evans Sr, dba AB Shelby’s Auto Tractor and Trailer Repair in Akron, pleaded guilty Jan. 7 to one count of failure to comply, a second-degree misdemeanor, after BWC found him operating his business without workers’ compensation coverage. An Akron Municipal Court judge sentenced Evans to one year of obeying the law and ordered him to pay $324 in court costs.

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

Sneak a peek at OSC19!

By Julie Darby Martin, BWC Safety Congress Manager

We can’t wait to connect with attendees at our Ohio Safety Congress & Expo 2019 (OSC19)!

It’s now just three weeks away at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. So, we’ve put together a brief sneak peek of OSC19 for you.

As always, safety congress will have an incredible selection of educational sessions to choose from, with most offering free continuing education credits. And you’ll find exciting products and services from hundreds of exhibitors in the Expo Marketplace.

Other highlights include live demonstrations involving fire (simulated), chainsaws, electricity, pushing and pulling, and fire again (cooking).

OSC19’s educational sessions will cover topics that are making headlines every day, including sessions touching on various aspects of the opioid epidemic and its effects on the workplace. Other sessions look at how wearable bio-technology helps detect injury risks and provide a glimpse into the future from the head of our Division of Safety & Hygiene.

Once again, we’re offering a course track on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, that features topics such as the impact of the #MeToo Movement on the workplace and how diversity strengthens safety in the workplace.

These are just a few highlights of OSC19. Take a look at all that OSC19 has to offer and register today. We’ll see you soon!

Construction worker hammered with fraud conviction

Cleveland man reimburses BWC $24,000

A Cleveland construction worker who worked multiple jobs while collecting disability benefits from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation reimbursed the agency nearly $24,000 on Jan. 30 before pleading guilty to workers’ compensation fraud.

Marc. E. Pope, 50, paid BWC $23,793 in restitution before his guilty plea on two first-degree misdemeanor counts of workers’ compensation fraud in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

“We found Mr. Pope working as a laborer for several businesses while claiming to be disabled from work,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “When someone scams the system, they are really hurting injured workers who rely on us to help them recover from their injury and return to work.”

In other fraud-related news:

A Cincinnati-area restaurant owner who would not cooperate with BWC to reinstate his policy finally did so after a Hamilton County grand jury indicted him on a fourth-degree felony count of workers’ compensation fraud.

Larry West, owner of the Bluebird Restaurant in Norwood, paid all past-due installments and premiums on his BWC policy before pleading guilty Jan. 25 to a reduced charge of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. He was sentenced to one day in jail, then credited with time served.

The owner of a pallet company in eastern Ohio was sentenced to two years of probation Jan. 29 for failing to carry workers’ compensation insurance on his business.

Kenneth Miller, owner of Grant Street Pallet Inc. in Lisbon, Ohio, pleaded no contest to a second-degree misdemeanor count of failure to comply after entering a reinstatement payment plan with BWC. A judge sentenced Miller to 10 days in jail and fined him $750, then suspended both.

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

Are your employees getting a good start on safety?

Did the new year bring new employees to your organization? Do you have a plan for introducing them or future new hires to your workplace safety efforts?

The best way to demonstrate safety as an organizational value to new hires or transferred employees is to provide a safety orientation right from the start. Doing so sets expectations for and provides a solid base for future safety performance.

You’re probably wondering what you should include in your safety orientation. The following are a few items to consider.

  • A review of your safety policy and rules
  • A review of specific safe work practices and procedures
  • Dress requirements
  • How to report injuries
  • How to seek first aid
  • How to report unsafe conditions, unsafe practices and near misses
  • How to respond during fire and emergency situations
  • Housekeeping standards
  • Discussion of specific work hazards
  • Use and care of personal protective equipment
  • Hazardous material identification and safe use (material safety data sheet)

These are just a few examples to get you started. You should tailor the orientation to your organization’s specific procedures and areas of focus.

Remember, the orientation is strictly the beginning of the safety process for employees. It’s critical to evaluate their knowledge and understanding of safety procedures on a continual basis. This includes regular training, for example:

  • Safety meetings.
  • Industry updates.
  • Focusing on specific safety issues.
  • Explanation and training when changes in work practices occur.

If you’re looking for additional resources to bolster your orientation and ongoing training efforts, our video library also has an extensive collection of workplace safety and health videos you can borrow or stream for free.

Getting your employees started on the right foot can help them achieve safety success early on and into the future.