Columbus, OH – BWC investigators secured seven fraud-related convictions in December that included two cases where the convicts had stolen injured workers’ benefits from family members.
In a case in northwest Ohio, the children of a deceased claimant cashed out their father’s BWC benefits for four months following his death in 2014. Cecilia Williams, 36, of Fayette, Ohio, pleaded guilty Dec. 20 to a fifth-degree felony count of workers’ compensation fraud. Her sentence is pending a pre-sentence investigation ordered by a Fulton County judge.
BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) discovered that Williams’ father had died in March 2014 but his family failed to notify BWC. The investigation found that BWC benefits continued to be deposited through July 2014 and more than $6,600 were withdrawn from ATMs over that time. Williams admitted to withdrawing the funds using her deceased father’s debit card and then providing half of the money to her brother, James Miller.
James Miller is scheduled for pre-trial on Feb. 10.
In another case involving family members, Kelly Clark, 38, of Columbus pleaded guilty to a first-degree misdemeanor count of theft Dec. 15 in a Franklin County courtroom for stealing an elderly relative’s BWC check.
Investigators found that Clark, who had been living with the relative, stole the check and cashed it without permission. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail, but received 30 days credited for time served and 60 days suspended as long as she pays $862 in restitution by Sept. 13, 2017.
Other December convictions include:
Muhammad Rashid of Hilliard — Lapsed Coverage
A judge found Rashid guilty of a minor misdemeanor count of failure to comply after Rashid failed to carry BWC coverage on his Youngstown area gas stations. Rashid became compliant on three gas stations, closed a fourth and paid its outstanding balance of $2,824. A judge imposed a $100 fine and court costs.
Alfonso R. Hooper of Columbus — Falsifying Wages
Hooper, 66, pleaded guilty Dec. 19 to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor, after investigators found he falsified his job search forms in order to receive non-working, wage-loss benefits from BWC. The court sentenced Hooper to 30 days in jail, suspended for one year of community control. The court also ordered Hooper to pay $5,000 investigative costs to BWC.
Scott A. Dix of Westerville — False Claim
Dix pleaded guilty Dec. 6 to one count of attempted forgery, a first-degree misdemeanor, after investigators determined he filed a false injured worker’s claim against his employer in order to receive BWC benefits. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail, which was suspended as long as he pays $750 to BWC for investigative costs.
William T. Maguire of Cincinnati — Lapsed Coverage
Maguire pleaded guilty to two fifth-degree felony counts of workers’ compensation fraud Dec. 6 after BWC discovered he ran his landscaping business for at least five years without workers’ compensation coverage. He owes premiums to BWC totaling $92,447. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 18 in Hamilton County.
Angelo Reillo Sr. of Garfield Heights — Working and Receiving
Reillo pleaded guilty Dec. 1 to a misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud after investigators caught him working while receiving injured workers’ benefits. Reillo paid $3,354 in restitution to BWC at the time of his guilty plea. A judge fined him $50.
Source: Ohio BWC