Lucas County man ordered to pay $2,700 in workers’ comp restitution

Thomas photo Feb 2015Richard Thomas, of Toledo (Lucas County), pleaded guilty and was sentenced Feb. 11 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas in connection with working while receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

BWC began investigating after a data cross match indicated that Thomas was possibly working while collecting BWC disability benefits. Investigators found that Thomas was working for a nonprofit organization in Toledo while receiving temporary total disability benefits in 2012. Injured workers are not permitted to work while receiving this type of benefit.

Thomas was sentenced to 90 days in jail, which was suspended, and ordered to pay $2,768.55 in restitution to BWC.

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South Euclid woman sentenced for workers’ comp fraud, ordered to pay $9K

February 25, 2015 1 comment

Columbus – A South Euclid (Cuyahoga County) woman was sentenced Feb. 10 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas for working while receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Brecia Whitten pleaded guilty to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony.

“BWC uses various techniques to detect whether someone receiving workers’ compensation benefits is receiving wages when they are prohibited from working,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “In this case, a data exchange alerted our investigators that Whitten may be working and committing fraud.”

BWC investigators found that Whitten did in fact receive wages for working as a substitute teacher and as a mailroom coordinator while receiving temporary total disability benefits. Injured workers are not permitted to work while receiving this type of benefit. In September 2013, the Industrial Commission of Ohio issued an order that found an overpayment of the benefits, and a finding of fraud was issued.

Whitten was sentenced to eight months in prison, which was suspended for five years of community control. One of the terms of community control is that she must pay $9,035.41 to BWC. If she does not comply, Whitten will be required to serve the prison time.

To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov. Check out our latest cases at ohiobwcfraud.wordpress.com, and see what workers’ compensation fraud looks like in our fraud awareness video on YouTube.

Fraud hotline tip leads investigators to Erie County man committing fraud

February 20, 2015 1 comment

Gregory Barnett, of Huron (Erie County), pleaded guilty Feb. 4 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas and was sentenced on one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. He agreed to repay $1,125 in restitution.

BWC received a tip on its fraud hotline that Barnett was working while receiving BWC benefits. Investigators reviewed records and conducted interviews, and confirmed that Barnett returned to work as a self-employed home contractor in 2013 while receiving temporary total disability benefits. Injured workers are not permitted to work while receiving this type of benefit.

In addition to restitution, Barnett was sentenced to 11 days in jail, and was given credit for all days, which were previously served.

Columbus woman sentenced for workers’ comp fraud

February 20, 2015 1 comment

Ronickia Keffer, of Columbus (Franklin County), pleaded guilty to and was sentenced Feb. 10 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. She was ordered to pay $1,104 in restitution and was also fined $1,000.

BWC received an allegation that Keffer was working and engaging in physical activities outside of her medical restrictions while receiving disability benefits. Investigators obtained evidence that revealed Keffer performed cleaning and maintenance duties for a business while receiving disability benefits.

Keffer must pay the restitution and fine by June 16, or will have to serve 60 days in the Franklin County Jail.

BWC investigations result in five workers’ comp fraud convictions in January

Columbus – Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer announced today that five individuals were convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, charges related to defrauding Ohio’s workers’ compensation system in January 2015. These court actions are the result of investigations conducted by BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID).

“Fraud investigations are an essential part of our work to ensure Ohio workers are insured for workplace injuries, and employer dollars aren’t going toward fraudulent claims,” Buehrer said. “In order to protect Ohio workers and employers, our investigators follow up on every tip and refer cases for review by prosecutors to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.”

The following is a sampling of cases that resulted in guilty pleas or convictions during January:

Terri Garcia (Kent, Portage County) pleaded guilty and was sentenced Jan. 27 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony. BWC began investigating after receiving an anonymous tip through BWC’s fraud hotline that Garcia was working while receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Investigators conducted interviews and recorded surveillance footage, which shows Garcia walking to a doctor’s appointment and then later walking to a client’s home. She worked as a home health aide while receiving temporary total disability benefits in 2013 and 2014. Injured workers are not permitted to work while receiving this type of benefit. Garcia was ordered to repay $8,321.23 in restitution to BWC and sentenced to six months in prison with all days suspended, and placed on 18 months of probation.

Chalmers Barnes III (Belmont, Belmont County) pleaded guilty and was sentenced Jan. 5 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. BWC fraud investigators received an allegation from a BWC claims service specialist that Barnes submitted falsified job search forms to receive non-working wage loss benefits. In order to receive this type of benefit, claimants must submit job search forms to show that they are searching for a job. Investigators checked job searches Barnes submitted to BWC, and found that Barnes was not performing in-person job searches or completing job applications at those businesses. As a result, BWC paid benefits to Barnes that he was not entitled to receive. Barnes was sentenced to one day in jail and given credit for time served. He also paid $749.47 in restitution prior to his sentencing.

Leonard Braynen (Moundsville, West Virginia) pleaded guilty and was sentenced Jan. 14 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. BWC received information indicating that Braynen was working as a delivery driver while receiving various benefits from BWC. Investigators found that Braynen worked while receiving multiple types of benefits from BWC. Braynen was ordered to pay $9,000 in restitution to BWC and was sentenced to 180 days in jail, and given credit for the time, which was already served.

Lois Przylepa (Findlay, Hancock County) pleaded no contest and was sentenced Jan. 20 in Findlay Municipal Court on one count of falsification, a first-degree misdemeanor. BWC received an allegation that Przylepa filed a false claim. Investigators found that Przylepa was terminated from employment at a mall business. After being fired, Przylepa went to the hospital and claimed she slipped and hurt herself at work. Witnesses denied that she fell and confirmed that she was never injured at work. Przylepa was ordered to pay a $250 fine plus court costs, and was sentenced to 30 days in jail with 25 days suspended. Przylepa must also perform 50 hours of community service.

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

Surveillance video shows Kent woman working while collecting workers’ comp benefits

A Kent (Portage County) woman was sentenced Jan. 27 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas after fraud investigators caught her on video working while receiving benefits for a workplace injury. Terri Garcia pleaded guilty to one count of worker’s compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony.

BWC began investigating after receiving an anonymous tip through BWC’s fraud hotline that Garcia was working while receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Investigators conducted interviews and recorded surveillance footage, which shows Garcia walking to a doctor’s appointment and then later walking to a client’s home. She worked as a home health aide while receiving temporary total disability benefits in 2013 and 2014. Injured workers are not permitted to work while receiving this type of benefit.

Garcia was ordered to repay $8,321.23 in restitution to BWC and sentenced to six months in prison with all days suspended, and placed on 18 months of probation.

Facebook post leads fraud investigators to Alabama

A Cincinnati (Hamilton County) woman was brought to justice in Ohio after workers’ compensation investigators spotted a Facebook post where she had publicly tagged herself at a Wal-Mart store in Alabama.


Angela Knapper was sentenced Nov. 18, 2014 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas for working while receiving workplace injury benefits. She pleaded guilty to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor.Angela Knapper

BWC began investigating Knapper when its Special Investigations Department identified that she earned wages while receiving disability benefits. Investigators found that she worked as a nursing assistant for three companies in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky in 2011 and 2012 while collecting various types of workers’ compensation benefits.

A warrant was issued for Knapper’s arrest on June 20, 2013 when she failed to show up for her arraignment, and she was arrested on June 3, 2014 in Birmingham, Alabama. Investigators learned of her whereabouts after she tagged herself at a Wal-Mart store. SID advised local authorities, who arrested her.

Knapper was ordered to pay $8,252.23 in restitution to BWC and was placed on community control with basic supervision for three years. If she violates the terms of her community control, Knapper will serve six months in jail.

We’d like to thank our partners at the Birmingham Police Department for their assistance with this case!

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