COLUMBUS – Two Geauga County men have been sentenced after they were convicted of fraud for working while collecting workers’ compensation benefits. Kenneth McElroy was self-employed performing equipment repair and snow plowing services and owes $80,000 to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). William Hill was discovered operating his own business, Hill’s Contracting Company, and must repay more than $133,000.
“Disability benefits are not a way to boost your salary when you are perfectly capable of working,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephen Buehrer. “These men may have been feeling comfortable that they could continue their scams but both cases prove that cheaters can never assume they can continue undiscovered.”
BWC’s Special Investigations Division (SID) opened an investigation into Kenneth McElroy after learning he was self-employed snow plowing and repairing lawn mower/landscape and construction equipment while receiving temporary total disability benefits. SID conducted numerous interviews confirming that the Chardon man was performing these services at his home and at customer’s residences.
The Ohio Industrial Commission issued an order in October finding all benefits McElroy received for the period of more than five years had been overpaid. Additionally, his benefits were terminated due to a finding of fraud. McElroy pleaded guilty to a felony count of theft on Dec. 14 in a Franklin County courtroom and was ordered to pay $80,000 in restitution. The judge also sentenced McElroy to five years of community control and a suspended a six month prison sentence.
William Hill became the subject of an investigation after a BWC claims service specialist suspected he may be working for his own company while receiving temporary total disability benefits. An investigation verified the Chesterland man was operating Hill’s Contracting Company for three years in direct conflict with his disability benefits.
Hill pleaded guilty Dec. 6 to one felony count of workers’ compensation fraud in Franklin County Municipal Court. He was ordered to pay $131,919.43 in restitution and an additional $2,000 for investigative costs. He was also sentenced to five years of community control. As part of the agreement, Hill is ordered to pay $100 per month. If Hill does not comply with probation or make the required monthly payments, he will serve six months in prison.
Source: Ohio BWC