Columbus, OH – Christopher Steele, of Reynoldsburg (Licking County), was recently sentenced in connection with receiving workplace injury benefits.
The BWC’s Columbus Special Investigations Unit (SIU) began investigating after receiving an allegation that Steele was working while receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Steele was receiving both Living Maintenance (LM) and Working Wage Loss (WWL) benefits. Injured workers receiving LM are prohibited from working, while those receiving WWL are permitted to work but must report earnings to determine benefit levels. The SIU obtained employment and payroll records, and confirmed that Steele worked as a carpenter and construction worker while receiving the LM compensation, and he didn’t report any earnings, resulting in a higher level of WWL benefits than he was entitled to receive.
Steele pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. He was ordered to pay $7,680.54 in restitution by March 31, 2016. He was given 60 days in jail, which was suspended on the condition that he pay restitution in full. If he fails to do so, he will serve 60 days in the Franklin County Jail. All fines were waived and Steele was ordered to pay court costs. He made a $2,500 restitution payment after the hearing.
Source: Ohio BWC SID