Columbus, OH – A Struthers (Mahoning County) man was recently sentenced for working as a truck driver while receiving funds from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) for a prior workplace injury. Mark Wasko was sentenced March 26 and ordered to repay more than $8,600 he improperly collected from the BWC.
“Ohio has demonstrated once again it will not tolerate those who try to defraud its workers’ compensation system,” said Steve Buehrer, BWC CEO/Administrator. “BWC and its partners will continue to work together to aggressively seek out and report false claims to save money and ensure that law-abiding injured workers receive their benefits in a timely manner.”
The BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) began an investigation after receiving an allegation about Wasko from a state agency computer cross-match. Documented evidence supported the allegation that Wasko returned to work as a truck driver while receiving the temporary total disability benefits. SID personnel conducted interviews and analyzed financial records, and Wasko confessed to working while receiving the benefits.
Wasko pleaded guilty March 26 in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. Judge Richard Sheward sentenced Wasko to a suspended 180 days in jail, and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $8,622.06 by Sept. 26. Wasko deposited $5,600 at the clerk’s office to be used toward restitution.
Since January 2011, the BWC’s fraud department obtained nearly 300 convictions and identified more than $121 million in savings for the State Insurance Fund. BWC receives a 6-to-1 return on investment in fraud detection.
Source: Ohio BWC