Columbus, OH – In its 30th year, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Special Investigations Department (SID) achieved impressive results in fiscal year (FY) 2023.
This past fiscal year, SID closed 1,362 cases, had 79 convictions, and identified $73.5 million in savings to our system – averaging $53,984 in savings per closed case.
Protecting the state insurance fund, ensuring the workforce is receiving the best care possible, and employers pay their share to help keep premiums low has been a driving force for the SID specialists. There have been many notable achievements this fiscal year by the department.
Here are a few of the stories from the past fiscal year:
A Kentucky man pleaded guilty to one count of theft, a fifth-degree felony, for collecting over $11,000 in disability benefits from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) while operating his lawn care business.
Michael Strother, 36, was the subject of a BWC Special Investigations Department (SID) investigation after an allegation he owned and operated his business, Eastern Style Lawn Care LLC, while receiving BWC benefits.
The investigation found Strother was working for nine months and hid his work activity from BWC to continue collecting BWC temporary total disability benefits.
The investigation into Strother consisted of multiple surveillances, including videos of Strother performing lawn care services without any apparent injury. On Dec. 19, 2022, Strother pleaded guilty to one count of theft, a fifth-degree felony. Strother was ordered to pay restitution of $11,237.77 to BWC and sentenced to 12 months of community control, nonreporting.
If Strother violates the terms of his probation, he is subject to a suspended sentence of 12 months in jail.
A Franklin County man pleaded guilty to one count of workers’ compensation fraud while receiving over $34,000 in benefits from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC).
Donald Roth, 45, pleaded guilty to the fifth-degree felony on Nov. 17, 2022, in a Franklin County courtroom. The judge ordered Roth to pay the outstanding restitution to BWC of $30,793.26, after $4,005.28 was previously recouped and sentenced him to five years of community control.
The Columbus Special Investigations Unit (SIU) opened an investigation after it was revealed Donald Roth was linked to a business named Wet Wash Window Cleaning LLC. The investigation proved Roth was actively working at his business and receiving BWC disability benefits between Feb. 2019 and Feb. 2021.
The investigation consisted of multiple surveillances, including videos of Roth washing windows and climbing ladders without any apparent injury, but when he went to a BWC scheduled exam, he used a cane. The investigation proved Roth, with fraudulent intent, concealed this employment to collect benefits to which he would not have been entitled.
If Roth violates the terms of his probation, he is subject to a suspended sentence of 12 months in jail.
On Nov. 10, 2022, Josh Bailey pleaded guilty to one count of workers’ compensation fraud and ordered to pay a total restitution of $25,460.87 to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC).
BWC’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) opened an investigation into Bailey after finding an address and phone number linking him to a business named J and J Roofing. During the review, SIU found three active business registrations listed for Bailey. Through surveillance and interviews, SIU confirmed Bailey operated and engaged in physical work activities for his business, Bailey’s Home Repair, while receiving Temporary Total Disability benefits from BWC.
On Nov. 10, 2022, Josh Bailey pleaded guilty to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a misdemeanor of the first degree. After paying $10,000 toward his restitution, Judge Brown found Bailey guilty and proceeded to sentencing. Judge Brown ordered Davis to pay the remaining balance of restitution totaling $15,460.87 to BWC and sentenced him to six months of community control.
Source: Ohio BWC