Colombus, OH – A Vinton (Gallia County) woman pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud and forgery this week after she was found forging documents in order to receive undue injured worker benefits. Maria Patterson must repay more than $7,000 as a result of her attempt to extend the benefits she was receiving for a prior workplace injury beyond her eligibility.
“Physicians are an important part of the process of evaluating the condition of injured workers and whether they are able to return to work,” said Steve Buehrer, Administrator/CEO of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). “Forging a provider’s name to extend benefits is not only illegal, it denies them their role in guiding a medical treatment plan designed to get injured workers back on this job.”
BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) opened an investigation after receiving an allegation from a BWC employee who suspected that Patterson submitted three falsified C-84 forms. These forms are used by injured workers and their physicians to initiate or extend payment of temporary total disability benefits. The investigation revealed Patterson did in fact falsify three forms by signing her doctor’s name and misrepresenting her dates of disability. As a consequence, she was paid benefits she would not otherwise have been eligible to receive.
Patterson pleaded guilty May 8 to one felony count of workers’ compensation fraud and one felony count of forgery. Franklin County Judge Guy Reece sentenced Patterson to 180 days incarceration on each count and ordered her to pay $7,450.63 in restitution. Patterson is currently serving a nine year sentence for unrelated charges of burglary, two counts of theft, tampering with evidence and breaking and entering.
Source: Ohio BWC