Columbus, OH – A McDonald (Trumbull County) man was sentenced Jan. 8 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas after investigators with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) caught him on video working while he was receiving benefits following a workplace injury. Michael Buckner previously pleaded guilty last November to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony.
“We rely upon the eyes and ears of medical providers, employers, claimants and our own employees to report suspected workers’ compensation fraud,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “In this case, a tip is what enabled our investigators to catch Buckner in the act of committing fraud. We encourage anyone who suspects claimant, employer or medical provider fraud to contact us immediately.”
BWC received an allegation that Buckner reported to his BWC medical appointments with heavily callused hands and dirt under his fingernails, and that he may have worked while receiving temporary total disability benefits. Claimants are not permitted to work while receiving this type of benefit.
Using financial records, surveillance operations, undercover operations, field interviews and Buckner’s testimony, investigators found that Buckner was working at his family’s automotive repair business while receiving temporary total disability benefits.
Buckner was sentenced to 11 months of incarceration, which was suspended for three years of community control. He was also ordered to find full-time employment and to repay $21,642.60 in restitution to BWC. Wages will be garnished from his paychecks until the restitution is paid in full.
Source: Ohio BWC