Columbus, OH – Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer recently announced that five individuals were convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, charges related to defrauding Ohio’s workers’ compensation system in December 2013. The court actions are the result of investigations conducted by BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID). The department works to deter, detect, investigate and prosecute workers’ compensation fraud.
“Our Special Investigations Department works tirelessly to investigate allegations to determine whether fraud was committed,” said Buehrer. “Our investigators secured 129 convictions in 2013 and are already hard at work to match that success in 2014.”
The following case information represents a sampling of cases that resulted in guilty pleas or convictions during December.
Nicholas Thompson (Miamisburg, Montgomery County) was granted intervention in lieu of conviction Dec. 10 after being originally charged with six counts of deception to obtain dangerous drugs, fifth-degree felonies, and 13 counts of deception to obtain dangerous drugs, fourth-degree felonies, and workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. All charges stemmed from a SID investigation; investigators found that Thompson used multiple physicians to obtain multiple narcotics prescriptions that were paid by the BWC. He also used multiple pharmacies to conceal his actions. Thompson was ordered to undergo drug and alcohol treatment and was placed on probation for five years. If he violates the court terms, he will be guilty of all charges and remanded to serve time in prison.
Jeffery Hall (East Liberty, Logan County) pleaded guilty Dec. 16 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony, for working while receiving benefits. SID received an allegation that Hall may have returned to work, and investigators found that he worked as an independent sales consultant between August 2011 and May 2012 while receiving temporary total disability benefits. Hall was found guilty and sentenced to community control and basic supervision for five years. Hall must also pay restitution to the BWC in the amount of $29,317.20 plus $2,227.04 – a total of $31,544.24. In addition, he was ordered to have no new convictions; if he violates the terms of community control, he will serve six months at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.
Charles Newland (Vaughnsville, Putnam County) pleaded guilty Dec. 9 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor, for working while receiving benefits. The BWC began investigating after receiving an allegation that Newland was possibly operating a firearm and archery business near his home. Investigators found that he was operating Buckeye Archery next to his home and selling firearms, archery and hunting equipment and supplies between November 2010 and June 2012 while collecting temporary total, living maintenance and living maintenance wage loss benefits from the BWC. Newland was found guilty and sentenced to pay a $100 fine plus costs, which were suspended. He had already paid a total of $26,213.40 in restitution and investigative costs to the BWC prior to sentencing – $18,367.90 in restitution and $7,845.50 in investigative costs.
Source: Ohio BWC