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Archive for February, 2013

Medina attorney who employed injured worker guilty of workers’ comp fraud

Natalie Grubb paid injured worker she was representing to work in her office

COLUMBUS – An investigation conducted by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) found a Medina attorney conspired to commit fraud by employing an injured worker she was representing in a workers’ compensation case.  Natalie Grubb pleaded guilty to fraud in a Franklin County courtroom Jan. 28 and has paid nearly $15,000 in restitution.

“As an attorney, Mrs. Grubb had to be well aware that she could not argue her client was unable to work while simultaneously serving as that client’s employer,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer.  “This case is another reminder that we must be vigilant about putting an end to fraud being committed by anyone involved in the workers’ comp system.”

BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) opened an investigation after receiving an allegation that an injured worker was working for her attorney, Natalie Grubb, while receiving disability benefits following a workplace injury.

Investigators found Grubb allowed an injured worker she was representing to work in her legal office as an assistant. The worker was injured as a truck driver and was receiving Temporary Total Disability benefits after obtaining the legal services of Grubb in the case.  The two conspired to hide the work activity and earnings so the benefits would continue.  

The injured worker’s employment with Grubb was confirmed by a statement obtained from the injured worker herself and interviews of former employees. 

Grubb initially denied the allegations and provided a false statement to BWC but pleaded guilty Jan. 28 to a misdemeanor count of complicity to commit workers’ compensation fraud.  Grubb paid $7,709.92 in restitution and $6,731.55 in investigative costs upfront, and an additional $500 fine imposed by the Franklin County Municipal Court. 

Grubb is being referred to the Disciplinary Counsel of the Ohio Supreme Court.

To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-OHIOBWC, visit ohiobwc.com, or visit www.facebook.com/ohiobwcfraud.

Cleveland tow truck operator owes $20,000 for workers’ comp fraud

February 1, 2013 2 comments

COLUMBUS – A Cleveland (Cuyahoga County) man pleaded guilty to fraud after investigators with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) caught him on video working as a tow truck driver while he was supposed to be off work recovering from a workplace injury. Luis A. Toro was sentenced in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas and must repay nearly $20,000.

“The video shows Mr. Toro’s ability to work even as he was collecting payments that are intended for those not yet able to return to their jobs,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “He clearly was able to return to work but took a chance by ignoring the restrictions in place to limit abuse – and now he must repay what he illegally collected.”

BWC’s Special Investigations Department received a tip on its fraud hotline alleging Toro was working as a tow truck driver in Cleveland while collecting workers’ compensation benefits. Agents conducted numerous surveillance and undercover operations and confirmed Toro continued to work as a self-employed tow truck driver in conflict with the rules associated with the workplace injury benefits he was receiving.

Toro was collecting Temporary Total Disability benefits when agents captured the video.  This is usually the first form of compensation awarded during an injured worker’s recovery from a work-related injury. An injured worker cannot work and receive temporary total disability payments.

Toro pleaded guilty to a felony count of workers’ compensation fraud Jan. 16. The judge ordered him to pay $16,963.71 in restitution and $3,000 in investigative costs. Toro was also ordered to nine months incarceration, suspended for five years of community control.

To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-OHIOBWC, visit ohiobwc.com, or visit www.facebook.com/ohiobwcfraud.