Fraud investigators learn new tools for preventing and detecting drug diversion

Four of our fraud analysts and investigators at the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s Special Investigations Department attended the four-day 25th annual conference of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) last week in Cincinnati. During the conference, NADDI members exchanged the latest information on preventing and detecting drug diversion.

Ultimately, BWC investigators hope to apply what they learned at this training seminar to their drug-related investigations.

The investigators will also share what they’ve learned with their colleagues, and use those strategies while conducting joint investigations with other law enforcement professionals, some of whom also attended last week’s milestone conference.

Congratulations to NADDI on 25 years of training, collaboration and partnerships! We’re pleased to say that one of our fraud analysts is an officer of this association.

For more articles from our blog, please visit ohiobwcfraud.wordpress.com.

Categories: News Articles

Marion man ordered to pay $6K in workers’ comp restitution

Samuel Jarrell, of Marion (Marion County), pleaded guilty Nov. 12 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor.

BWC received an allegation that Jarrell was working while receiving temporary total disability benefits. Injured workers are not permitted to work while receiving this type of benefit.

Investigators reviewed bank records and conducted both interviews and surveillance to prove that Jarrell was working at his family truck and auto repair business while receiving temporary total disability. Jarrell was ordered to pay $6,136 in restitution, and was also sentenced to 90 days of incarceration, which was suspended for a year of community control. Terms of his community control include paying the restitution.

Columbus man ordered to pay $3K in workers’ comp restitution

Russell Milam of Columbus (Franklin County) pleaded guilty Nov. 12 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony.Russell Milam booking photo

BWC received two separate allegations that Milam was working while receiving temporary total disability benefits. Injured workers are not permitted to work while receiving this type of benefit. Investigators reviewed payroll records, which showed that Milam worked as a subcontractor for a gutter company in 2010 while receiving temporary total disability.

Milam was ordered to pay $3,288.24 in restitution. He was placed on community control with basic supervision for two years. Milam was also given 12 months at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, which was suspended as long as community control is not violated. He also had 13 days of jail time credit.

What workers’ compensation fraud looks like

In honor of International Fraud Awareness week, we’ve put together a new fraud awareness video. Check it out!

Our most popular workers’ comp fraud cases of the year

Our most popular workers’ compensation fraud cases this year include claimant, provider and employer subjects:

  • Brooklynn Mieczkowski of Columbus, who inaccurately reported her symptoms and the extent of her injuries to improperly collect workplace injury benefits;
  • Michael Meekins of Akron, who engaged in professional wrestling matches while receiving disability benefits for a back injury;
  • Glenn Jones of Cleveland, whose workplace security camera caught him faking a workplace injury;
  • Nelsonville chiropractor Michael L. Brown, whose patients were not at his office on days that he billed BWC for treating them, including dates his office was closed, and who fabricated the amount of treatment he provided to patients to receive a higher payment for services;
  • Lawanna Porter of Shaker Heights, who operated Palladium Healthcare, a home healthcare agency with more than 100 employees, but failed to report those employees to various state agencies.

These subjects have at least one thing in common. Thanks to the sources who reported their suspicions of fraud, each subject was convicted for their crime.

If you suspect workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292, visit bwc.ohio.gov, or visit facebook.com/ohiobwcfraud.

For more articles from our blog, please visit ohiobwcfraud.wordpress.com.

Throwback Thursday: Investigating workers’ comp fraud is very different from 20 years ago

The world of fraud investigations here at the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is constantly changing due to technology. Today, we compare the way we used technology in 1994 and how we use it today.

THEN: Here’s a 2002 cover of our magazine, BWC Focus, which is no longer printed.

Data management

  • Then: We used paper files to contain most data.
  • Now: We remotely access data from smart phones and quickly analyze datasets with millions of records using customized data mining software.

Equipment

  • Then: We used pagers to communicate and bulky audio and video recording devices to capture evidence.
  • Now: We use smart phones and Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS) radios to communicate, conceal covert equipment in everyday items, and deploy advanced surveillance techniques to optimize an undercover agent’s safety and effectiveness.

Training

  • Then: We traveled to training sessions.
  • Now: More effective ways to complete training exist, including computer-based training, webinars and podcasts. Today, via video-conferencing, we inexpensively connect dozens of professionals located throughout the state to exchange demonstrations of best practices.

NOW: Our Facebook page, this blog and other social media efforts help us share workers’ comp fraud news.

Lastly (how could we forget?), we use social media and this blog to share our latest news. For more articles from our blog, please visit ohiobwcfraud.wordpress.com.

Social media helps to deter, detect and investigate workers’ comp fraud

Since 2011, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has used social media to highlight our Special Investigations Department’s efforts to deter, detect and investigate workers’ compensation fraud. And in August 2013, we took it a step further and created Fraud Fridays.

The social media campaign notifies the public of outstanding fugitives, prosecutions, anti-fraud efforts and job postings. SID Facebook content furnishes surveillance video footage, booking photos of convicted subjects and descriptions of their fraud schemes.

That’s right – each week, we share meaningful content on newsworthy fraud topics. Many of the Fraud Friday articles educate our readers on how to detect various types of fraud committed by claimants, employers and providers. We teach our readers how to recognize fraudulent behaviors using real examples of common fraud schemes. We furnish our friends with multiple means to easily report their suspicions to us, including a link to a Report Fraud form. Each article reminds readers that if they suspect workers’ compensation fraud, they may call 1-800-644-6292, visit bwc.ohio.gov, or visit facebook.com/ohiobwcfraud.

We’re certain that all of the above deter would-be criminals from committing fraud against the State Insurance Fund, which pays for injured worker benefits.

In addition to educating the public and deterring future fraud, SID uses social media to conduct our investigations. The SID digital forensics unit uses social media research to support investigations conducted by other SID teams. During fiscal year 2014, the unit also responded to 139 such requests. The unit’s social media analysis assisted SID teams in locating claimants, providers and employers. Through this analysis, the DFU identified the employment information of claimant subjects, as well as potential suspects, witnesses and co-conspirators.

To maximize the impact of our social media campaign, we offer readers a variety of ways they may connect with us and receive news releases, videos, articles and other updates:

And finally, for more articles from our blog, please visit ohiobwcfraud.wordpress.com. Thank you for your support of our efforts!

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