Columbus, OH – A Boardman man was sentenced Friday for fraud after pleading guilty to working as a landscaper and roofer while receiving workers’ comp benefits. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) conducted a surveillance operation and caught Thomas Hofus on camera replacing a roof.
“Workers’ comp is intended for those who cannot return to work while recovering from an injury, however, surveillance by our investigators showed Mr. Hofus was clearly capable of physical work,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “BWC remains committed to putting a stop to cases like this that place employer dollars in the hands of those who are not honestly representing their ability to work.”
BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) acted on an allegation that Hofus was operating a curbing and landscaping business called World Class Curbing while he was receiving temporary total disability benefits for a prior workplace injury. Witness interviews, a review of financial records and surveillance videos confirmed he returned to work in violation with those benefits.
The evidence showed Hofus operated as a sales person at home and garden shows, provided on-site estimates for customers, supervised employees at job sites and participated in much of the physical work associated with landscaping and roofing.
Hofus pleaded guilty August 13 to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth degree felony, in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. He was ordered to pay restitution of $12,662.17 and sentenced to one year incarceration, suspended for three years of community control. Terms of his probation include a substance abuse evaluation, any follow-up treatment recommended, and a requirement to maintain employment.
Surveillance video is available here (ZIP).
Source: Ohio BWC