By Jeff Baker, Program Administrator, BWC Special Investigations Department
A claims service specialist (CSS) in our Dayton Service Office is our 2019 Fraud Finder of the Year award winner.
We can’t name the employee because we don’t publicly identify our fraud tipsters, but this longtime BWC veteran tipped us off about a claimant collecting disability benefits after going to prison for shooting a SWAT officer.
“Thanks to this employee’s actions, we were able to save the BWC system more than $2 million,” said Jim Wernecke, director of our Special Investigations Department (SID), referring to the estimated cost over the life of the claim.
With characteristic humility, the CSS, who referred five other allegations to SID during fiscal year 2019, said, “I was just doing my job.”
About a fourth of the nearly 3,000 fraud allegations we received in fiscal year 2019 came from BWC personnel around the state. These included claims representatives, employer representatives, and others who suspected illicit behavior on the part of injured workers, employers, health-care providers or others connected to Ohio’s workers’ compensation system. Our investigations led to an estimated $5.9 million in savings to the BWC system.
“We encourage all BWC employees and the general public to contact us immediately if they suspect fraudulent behavior in our system, even the slightest hint of it,” said Director Wernecke. “We will conduct a thorough investigation, and the sooner we get started, the better.”
To report suspected cases of workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 (then select option 0, option 4, option 1) or visit www.bwc.ohio.gov.