Columbus, OH – A Cincinnati (Hamilton County) business owner was recently sentenced to pay nearly $55,000 in unpaid premiums owed to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). Todd Bittner pleaded guilty in October to two counts of workers’ compensation fraud, both fifth-degree felonies, as part of a plea deal.
“Bittner Construction had lapsed coverage, and this wasn’t the first time,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “BWC attempted to work with Mr. Bittner, but he failed to pay the premiums or enter into a payment plan. The bottom line is that all employers need to pay for workers’ compensation coverage. We’re pleased that these overdue premiums will finally be collected.”
BWC’s Employer Fraud Team (EFT) received a referral from the agency’s Employer Compliance Department indicating that Bittner Construction continued to operate with lapsed coverage since September 2007. It’s the second case of lapsed coverage the EFT had for this business; in the first case, the company became compliant, so the case was closed. EFT agents attempted to work with Bittner, who confirmed that he was responsible for handling the company’s workers’ compensation duties. He submitted outstanding payroll reports to the EFT, but didn’t pay the related premiums or enter into a payment plan.
On Dec. 10, Bittner was sentenced to four years of community control and was ordered to pay the BWC $54,934 in restitution, plus court costs and a $1,000 fine. He must also perform 500 hours of community service. He will serve two years in prison if he fails to meet any of his court-ordered requirements.
Back in July, Bittner was indicted by the Hamilton County Grand Jury on 12 fifth-degree felony counts of workers’ compensation fraud. In October, he pleaded guilty to two fifth-degree felony counts as part of a plea deal; the other 10 counts were dismissed.
Source: Ohio BWC SID