BWC secures six convictions in May

Five Ohio workers and one business owner were convicted in May on workers’ compensation fraud and related charges.

The six convictions raise BWC’s total convictions for the 2019 calendar year to 38.

“When people cheat the BWC system, they are cheating the employers and hard-working Ohioans across this state who play by the rules,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “Congratulations to our special investigations department for stopping this fraudulent behavior.”

In order of most recent case, those convicted include:

James Nichols of Cleveland, Ohio
BWC investigators found Nichols working as a janitor and office manager while collecting BWC benefits. Nichols pleaded guilty May 13 to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 150 days in jail, suspended for two years of community control. He was ordered to pay BWC $3,525 in restitution. He made a $1,000 payment at sentencing.

Deborah Rosenlieb of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Rosenlieb pleaded guilty May 9 in Summit County Common Pleas Court to workers’ compensation fraud, a fourth-degree felony, after investigators found her collecting her late father’s BWC benefits for two years. A judge ordered her to pay BWC $29,418 in restitution and serve two years of community service.

Jesse Lemaster, dba Lemaster Tree Care, Springfield, Ohio
Lemaster pleaded guilty May 8 to two counts of failure to comply, both second-degree misdemeanors, for operating his business without a valid BWC policy. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail on each charge, which was suspended pending a July 10 hearing, at which time he is to prove to the court he has valid workers’ compensation coverage.

Natasha Mitchum of Youngstown, Ohio
Mitchum pleaded guilty May 2 in Franklin County Common Pleas Court to workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor, after BWC found her working as a call center employee/customer service representative while receiving disability benefits. She was sentenced to 180 days in jail, suspended for three years of community control, and ordered to pay BWC $1,863 in restitution.

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

I am the subject matter expert

kendraReporting from the National Workers’ Compensation & Disability Conference: Encouraging, empowering and inspiring!

By Kendra DePaul, Special Assistant to the BWC Administrator

On Tuesday, over 500 women, and a few men, gathered in Las Vegas for the 2nd Annual Women in Workers’ Compensation event.

wiwc panelThe mission of the Women in Workers’ Compensation organization is to encourage, empower, inspire and support women in the workers’ compensation industry in their professional development and career growth.

You may or may not be surprised to learn that women do not hold as many leadership roles as men in the insurance industry, and especially in workers’ compensation. The purpose of the event was to encourage women to take leadership roles in the industry, but also to simply understand the difference between men and women in communication.

Margaret Resce Milkint, Managing Partner of The Jacobson Group talked about how
women need to do a better job at taking credit for the work that they do. Women have a tendency to speak in “we” language instead of “I” language. And that we tend to caveat our statements by starting them with “I am not the expert, but…”

Reflecting on this, I think it is great advice for both men and women to be confident in our ability and recognize that for many of the things we work on, we are the subject matter experts and there is nothing wrong with saying as much.

Another topic of conversation was that we have to be willing to take advantage of career opportunities that come our way, even if we don’t think we are ready. Yes, there will always be risk in taking a new role, but if we all waited until we felt we were truly ready, we would never make the move. And many of the speakers spoke about some of best lessons they ever learned, were from times things didn’t go exactly as planned.

Although I have heard many of these things before, the event was a good reminder that  we each have what it takes to move our careers forward, if we so choose. Although there are times when we may doubt our abilities or make mistakes, we have to remain confident and move forward, because we are the leaders of tomorrow.