New Carlisle man ordered to repay nearly $20K in workers’ comp benefits

Patrick Woods booking photo 1Columbus – A New Carlisle man (Clark County) was ordered to pay more than $19,000 in workers’ compensation restitution in connection with working while receiving workplace injury benefits. Patrick Woods, formerly of Chillicothe (Ross County), pleaded guilty June 5 in Ross County Court of Common Pleas to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony, and was sentenced July 17.

“Misrepresenting work activity to the agency is one way some claimants attempt to commit workers’ compensation fraud,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “In fact, it is one of the more common types of fraud we’ve seen in the 61,000 cases our Special Investigations Department has closed since its founding 21 years ago.”

BWC’s special investigations unit received an allegation that Woods was operating his own heating, ventilation and air conditioning company, and repairing heating and cooling units in hotels while receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

Investigators reviewed bank records and conducted business interviews, all of which proved Woods was working as a self-employed HVAC technician since September 2008 while receiving benefits, but not reporting this work activity to BWC.

Woods was sentenced to serve 11 months through the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, which was suspended. He was placed on three years of community control in lieu of prison time. He must pay $19,739 in restitution to the BWC and court costs. Woods was given 21 days in jail to be served intermittently within six months. He was also ordered to perform 200 hours of community service within 12 months.

To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov.

Orient man ordered to repay $54K in workers’ comp benefits

???????????????????????????????Columbus – An Orient (Pickaway County) man was ordered to pay more than $54,000 in restitution in connection with working while receiving workplace injury benefits. Craig Vance pleaded guilty July 24 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony.

“Thanks to an allegation reported to BWC, tens of thousands of dollars will be returned to the State Insurance Fund,” said Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “The public serves as our eyes and ears for detecting workers’ comp fraud. If you notice suspicious activity by a claimant, an employer or a medical provider, please report it and we’ll promptly investigate the matter.”

BWC’s special investigations unit received an allegation that Vance was working while receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Multiple undercover operations were conducted, Vance’s bank records were reviewed and several customers were interviewed; these sources revealed that Vance was operating his own auto mechanic shop from his residence while receiving BWC benefits.

Vance was ordered to pay $54,030 to BWC. He was also sentenced to serve 11 months in prison, but the prison sentence was suspended for a five-year term of community control with basic supervision.

To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov.

The long arm of the law

Some of our convicted subjects operated under the false assumption that they could evade fraud detection, investigation or prosecution by leaving Ohio. Perhaps they assumed the BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) had a reach that ended at the state border. Maybe they assumed agents would not remotely follow them, if they put enough states between themselves and BWC. Or, they assumed out-of-state law enforcement officers would be too busy to apprehend and arrest them. Perhaps they hoped prosecutors in Ohio would not care to extradite them to stand trial back in Ohio for their crimes. But, as we showed you in August 2012, Randy and Robin Hammond learned that they couldn’t avoid the consequences of their actions by fleeing Ohio.

SID teams coordinated and closed cases pertaining 86 claimant, provider and employer subjects who relocated beyond our state borders in the last year alone. These out-of-state investigations yielded $622,235 in identified savings. We have been successful with remote investigations since our department’s inception. We conducted our first large-scale campaign in the mid-1990s. Dubbed Operation Long-Arm, our agents surprised more than a few suspects when we showed up at their out-of-state residences to bring them to justice. From this operation, we determined we would continue the practice of conducting out-of-state investigations.

We hire private investigative firms throughout the U.S. to conduct undercover surveillance as needed. The firms investigate non-Ohio residents suspected of committing fraud against our agency. These private investigators are our local eyes and ears. SID analysts and agents review the preliminary evidence these private investigative firms collect. We secure additional evidence, determine the truth, conclude the investigation, and refer subjects for criminal prosecution.

If defendants fail to appear in Ohio for arraignment, then our fugitive task force is deployed. They locate fugitives and coordinate arrests with local law enforcement officers or the U.S. Marshals Service. Prosecutors extradite these defendants to stand trial in court. These steps were used to secure the conviction and sentencing of the Hammonds.

Collaborating with our colleagues extends our reach: the law does indeed have a long arm.

Categories: News Articles

Florida man ordered to repay $8K in workers’ comp benefits

Ryan Strohm, of Cocoa Beach, Florida, pleaded guilty July 9 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony.

BWC received an allegation that Strohm withdrew from his BWC-paid college courses, but submitted grades to BWC as if he had completed those courses. He received benefits while attending college to assist with his return to work goals. Investigators reviewed college transcripts and confirmed that Strohm submitted false college records and made false statements to BWC from June 2011 to June 2012. Investigators also conducted customer interviews, and confirmed that Strohm returned to work as a self-employed contractor from July 2011 to June 2012.

Strohm agreed to repay $8,472.08 in restitution. He was sentenced to three years of community control. He was also sentenced to seven months of incarceration, but that portion of the sentence was suspended.

Columbus man ordered to pay $7K for workers’ comp fraud

David Sturgill, of Columbus, pleaded guilty July 1 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. ??????????????????????

 

BWC’s special investigation unit began investigating after receiving an allegation that Sturgill was working while receiving BWC benefits. Investigators found that Sturgill was working as an electrician.

 

Sturgill was sentenced to 180 days in jail, which was suspended for 36 months of community control and could be extended up to 60 months.  He was ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution and $2,000 in investigative costs.

 

The numbers are in: SID identified $60.1 million in savings last year

SID annual report FY 2014We are pleased to report that SID identified $60.1 million in savings over the past year, according to statistics outlined in BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) fiscal year (FY) 2014 annual report. The report, which was published today, reflects upon and reviews recent performance statistics, trends, and strategies for preventing and detecting fraud.

Since our department’s inception in 1993, we have closed nearly 61,000 cases and identified more than $1.5 billion in savings to the Ohio workers’ compensation system.

Among the more than 2,055 cases that were closed in FY 2014, 924 were closed-founded, meaning the original allegation was proven. The average savings identified among the 924 cases was more than $65,000. More than 250 of these cases were referred for prosecution, resulting in 149 indictments and 132 convictions. These 149 indictments were an 11 percent increase over last year.

During the last 12months, SID staff continued their focus on technological advancements as well as emerging trends pertaining to fraud and abuse. Additionally, SID continued to use effective digital forensics and social media to root out otherwise undetected fraudulent activity, and to bring public attention to workers’ compensation fraud.

Comparatively, SID achieved the following in FY 2014:

  • Lowest number of cases open at year end in the last 15 years;
  • Lowest number of investigative lag days per closed case in the last seven years;
  • Highest savings identified in the last four years;
  • Highest savings identified per closed and per founded case in the last seven years;
  • Highest number of terabytes of data processed by our digital forensics unit;
  • Highest number of referrals in the last six years;
  • Third highest number of indictments in the last 15 years;
  • Highest percentage of founded cases referred for criminal prosecution in the last seven years.

Looking forward, FY 2014 marks the beginning of SID’s fourth strategic plan, which will serve as an operational guide for the next five years. The results of this level of planning are responsible for the success SID experienced in this past fiscal year.

Thank you for supporting our efforts to deter, detect and prosecute workers’ compensation fraud. Keep those tips coming!

Former Milford man ordered to repay more than $26K in workers’ comp benefits

??????????????????????Columbus – A former Milford (Clermont County) man was ordered to pay more than $26,000 in workers’ compensation restitution. David Delvecchio pleaded guilty April 29 in Franklin County Common Pleas Court to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony, after the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Special Investigations Department (SID) discovered that he was collecting disability funds while employed.

“We are fully committed to stopping workers’ compensation fraud regardless of where it occurs,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “With the efforts from our Special Investigations Department, we will continue to find those who are illegally drawing from the State Insurance Fund.”

After receiving an allegation from a claims specialist, investigators followed Delvecchio to Capital Machine Company in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he was employed from Feb. 4, 2013 to Aug. 2, 2013. Delvecchio was also employed as a seasonal safety patrol member for the Indianapolis Speedway from April 30, 2011 to Aug. 29, 2011.

Delvecchio was ordered to pay $26,580.77 in restitution to the BWC, court costs, and to continue mental health counseling. He was also sentenced to five years of basic supervision community control. Violation of his community control conditions will result in an 11 month prison term. 

To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov.

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