Columbus – Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Stephen Buehrer today announced nine individuals were convicted of or pleaded guilty to charges related to defrauding Ohio’s workers’ compensation system during the month of July. The court actions are the result of investigations conducted by BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID), which works to deter, detect, investigate, and prosecute workers’ compensation fraud.
“Several of these individuals went to great lengths in their attempts to cheat the system so they could receive undue compensation and access to prescription drugs,” said Buehrer. “They likely did not anticipate the expertise and dedication our investigators have when it comes to finding and eliminating fraud.”
Following is a sampling of cases that resulted in a guilty plea or conviction during the month of July.
Charles Watson (Toledo, Lucas County) pleaded guilty to one count of deception to obtain dangerous drugs for fraudulently receiving BWC paid narcotic prescriptions from two different physicians. Watson was traveling from one physician in Toledo to another physician in Dover (Tuscarawas County) to obtain similar narcotics. Neither physician knew Watson was receiving the narcotics at the same time they writing prescriptions. Watson was sentenced nine months suspended incarceration and was placed on community control for two years. As a condition of community control, Watson was ordered to pay restitution of $930.24 and court costs. The court also suspended his driver’s license for six months.
Misti Marshall (Elyria, Lorain County) entered a plea of guilty to one count of workers’ compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. BWC’s Automated Detection and Intelligence unit noted a cross match with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) indicating potential fraud. Investigators found Marshall was receiving wages from Assured Home Health, Rono Investments, Industrial Plastics and Kelly Services while she was collecting Temporary Total Disability and Living Maintenance benefits. Marshall must pay restitution of $18,177.15 and an additional $3,000 for investigative costs. Her sentencing is scheduled for September 22.
Benton Crist (Delphos, Allen County) pleaded guilty to one count of workers’ compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. Crist failed to inform BWC that he was working as a truck driver for Martin Transportation Systems, in Byron Center, Michigan (formerly Topline Express out of Lima, Ohio) during the time he was applying for and collecting Non-Working Wage Loss benefits. The investigation began after a BWC claims service specialist recognized signs of possible fraud in his claim documents. Crist was sentenced to five years of community control and ordered to pay court costs and restitution of $ 42,876.34. He was also sentenced to 12 months suspended incarceration.
Donald Fisher (Clermont County) pleaded guilty in Clermont County to one count of deception to obtain a dangerous drug, a fourth degree felony. Investigators found that Fisher was having his granddaughter use and sell narcotics prescribed by his BWC physician. Between May 2010 to March 2011, Fisher gave his adult granddaughter 10 Opana and 10 Percocet pills each week to traffic on the street in exchange for sexual favors. Rebecca Fisher sold the Opana for $50 per pill and the Percocet for $12 per pill and split her profits with Fisher. Both confessed to selling the BWC prescribed narcotics during the same period Fisher received Permanent Total Disability benefits. Fisher’s sentencing is pending.
Annette McDaniel (Columbus, Franklin County) pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud for working four jobs while collecting Temporary Total Disability and Living Maintenance Wage Loss benefits. McDaniel, also known as Annette Fair and Ronette Fair, became the subject of an investigation after a database cross-match conducted with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services indicated she worked for KC Men’s Clothing while she was collecting benefits. The investigation confirmed McDaniel not only worked for KC Men’s Clothing, but also for AmeriCoat, Value City Department Stores and Adecco USA during the periods she collected these benefits. McDaniel was sentenced to a suspended sentence of eight months incarceration suspended and five years of community control. As a condition of the community control, McDaniel was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $17,064.25 as well as investigative costs in the amount of $2,500 and court costs.
Pamela Myers (Morrow, Warren County) pleaded guilty to a felony count of workers’ compensation fraud related to her work as a bus driver while receiving disability payments for a workplace injury she sustained while working as a driving instructor. Investigators found she worked as a driver the Little Miami School District in Morrow from July 20, 2006 to September 4, 2006, and from March 12, 2007 to September 16, 2007, in violation of the rules associated with receiving Temporary Total Disability benefits. Meyers was sentenced in a Franklin County courtroom to five years of community control, ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $11,396.10, court costs and investigative costs totaling $2,000. Meyers will serve 12 months in prison if she violates community control. She made a payment of $7,000 toward restitution on the day of sentencing.
Source: Ohio BWC