Three Northeast Ohio men owe the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) more than $800,000 after investigators discovered they were operating their businesses without workers’ compensation coverage.
“These business owners learned the hard way they cannot operate their business without workers’ compensation coverage, and now they owe us hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “I’m pleased our investigators stopped these employers from continuing to break the law and cheat our system.”
William H. Foster III, owner of American Construction Group LTD, pleaded guilty Feb. 11 in a Summit County courtroom to a second-degree misdemeanor of obstructing official business after failing to work with BWC to reinstate his policy. A judge sentenced Foster to credit for time served in jail and to follow the payment agreement he made with the BWC and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to reinstate his policy. Foster owes BWC more than $360,000 in past premiums and penalties.
In Stark County, Paul “Bob” Collier Jr. and Miklos Fioretto pleaded guilty on Jan. 17 and Feb. 5, respectively, to a fourth-degree felony charge of workers’ compensation fraud for failing to maintain coverage on their East Sparta, Ohio, business.
Investigators discovered that Fioretto and Collier changed the name of their pallet manufacturing business to avoid paying past premiums and penalties associated with the business.
Both men were sentenced to three years of community service. A condition of probation is to pay BWC restitution of $458,125.
In other news: A Columbus woman was ordered to pay BWC $6,941 in restitution on Tuesday after pleading guilty to a first-degree misdemeanor charge of workers’ compensation fraud.
BWC investigators discovered Jamia Smith, 39, working for a staffing firm while concealing that information from BWC to continue collecting disability benefits. A judge also sentenced Smith to three years of probation in lieu of six months in jail. To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit www.bwc.ohio.gov.