Home > Press Releases & Case Information > BWC investigations result in 14 workers’ comp fraud convictions in September

BWC investigations result in 14 workers’ comp fraud convictions in September

Columbus – Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer today announced 14 individuals were convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, charges related to defrauding Ohio’s workers’ compensation system in September. The court actions are the result of investigations conducted by BWC’s special investigations department (SID). The department works to deter, detect, investigate and prosecute workers’ compensation fraud.

“Each of these cases is troubling, but the ones involving medical providers are particularly disturbing,” said Buehrer. “The cases brought forth by our Health Care Provider Team show that some healthcare professionals are not operating with the best interests of their patients in mind.”

Following is a sampling of the cases that resulted in a guilty plea or conviction during September.

Jeffrey Stychno DC (Warren, Trumbull County) pleaded guilty in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to one felony count each of workers’ compensation fraud and Medicaid fraud for after he was found billing for services not rendered. BWC Special Investigations Department received an allegation that Jeffrey L. Stychno, D.C., owner and practitioner at Integrated Health, billed BWC and other public and private health care programs for more complex treatment than was actually rendered, as well as billed for treatment patients did not receive altogether. In the course of the joint investigation with the Ohio Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, agents conducted numerous patients and employee interviews. During these interviews, patients denied receiving treatment billed to their claims. Employees claimed Dr. Stychno directed them to submit bills for treatment purportedly rendered on days on which patients did not even visit the clinic. To further this fraud, Dr. Stychno directed his staff to create spurious treatment notes to give the false appearance the treatment was actually rendered. Stychno pleaded guilty Sept. 25 and was sentenced to a five year term of community control, with a 12-month suspended sentence. He was ordered to pay BWC $69,781.17 in restitution and investigative costs; and was ordered to pay a combined total of $19,715.70 to Medicaid. Stychno has been decertified as a BWC health care provider.

Joseph J. Yurigan, D.C. (Weirton, West Virginia) was sentenced Sept. 5 after he previously pleaded guilty to health care fraud and tax evasion. Yurigan is a chiropractor who formerly practiced in Weirton and Wheeling, WV, and treated Ohio injured workers. SID conducted an undercover operation in each of the two chiropractic offices he owned and operated after receiving an allegation of fraud in 2008. The investigation found Dr. Yurigan was routinely and consistently billing for services that he never provided to the undercover operatives. The Federal Bureau of Investigations, West Virginia Department of Insurance Commission, United States Treasury Department and the United States Attorney’s Office became involved in the investigation and executed a search warrant in Oct. 2009. Evidence obtained from the search warrant and information collected from numerous interviews confirmed Yurigan was billing multiple insurance providers for services that he never provided. Yurigan was ordered to make restitution totaling $836,065.93. He was also sentenced to 18 months in a federal institution. Dr. Yurigan was scheduled to report to the designated institution on Oct. 7.

Bruce Weimert (Lima, Allen County) pleaded guilty Sept. 18 in the Lima Municipal Court to one misdemeanor count of falsification for filing a false claim. SID received an internal allegation that Weimert may have filed a false claim. Evidence showed Weimert filed the claim indicating he was injured at work when was actually injured at home. Weimert also told two co-workers that he fell at home. Weimert received a suspended sentence of 180 days in jail, and two years of probation. He must pay a $150 fine, in addition to $1,000 in investigative costs.

Mario Scott (Renton, Washington) pleaded guilty Sept. 25 in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to one felony count of workers’ compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. SID received an allegation from a BWC employee indicating Scott made contact complaining that his child support was being taken out of his BWC benefits and his employment wages. SID obtained evidence showing Scott worked for several employers through a temp agency in the state of Washington while collecting various benefits from the BWC. Scott was sentenced to five years of community control and ordered to repay restitution in the amount of $12,125.99, including $787.65 for investigative costs. Conditions of his community control include undergoing drug tests, obtaining/maintaining employment, and having no new arrests or convictions. If Scott violates the terms of his community control, he will serve eight months of incarceration. He has 30 days jail time credit.

James Putman and Juanita Kneisley (Toledo, Lucas County) pleaded no contest Sept. 3 in the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas to forgery and attempted forgery charges for cashing a BWC check that did not belong to them. BWC mailed the $847.53 check to the correct address, however, the post office forwarded the check to a prior address while the injured worker was recovering from her injuries and participating in rehabilitation. SID obtained the video from the Stop & Go carryout in Toledo where Putman and Kneisley cashed the BWC check. The carryout employee advised that Putman initially came in to cash the check and when the employee asked for identification, Putman told him his girlfriend was in an accident and her purse was left in the car with her license. Kneisley later came to the carryout presenting a Polaroid picture of herself and the carryout had Kneisley place her thumb print on the check. Their identities were confirmed by the carryout employee, and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation confirmed the thumb print belonged to Kneisley. Putman pleaded no contest to a felony count of forgery, and Kneisley pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of attempted forgery. Putman was remanded into the custody of the Lucas County Sheriff with $10,000 bond. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 16, and Putman’s sentence is to run concurrent with another felony charge for receiving stolen property.

John Perkins (Toledo, Lucas County) pleaded guilty Sept. 6 in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to one misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. SID received an allegation that Perkins was tearing down mobile home trailers while collecting benefits and obtained video evidence confirming the allegation. Perkins was working for John Rogers of Rogers Services demolishing old mobile home trailers from April 2010 to July 2010 while collecting Temporary Total Disability benefits. The video showed Perkins tore down trailers using various tools and equipment, loaded materials into a dumpster and took scrap materials to scrap yards. Perkins received a 90 day jail sentence, suspended for three years of community control. Conditions are that he pay restitution in the amount of $3,762, maintain employment or employment training and have no new convictions. He had 42 days of jail time credit.

Douglas Bevis, dba Bevis Towing, (Cincinnati, Hamilton County) pleaded guilty Sept. 20 to one misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud for allowing his coverage to lapse. SID received a referral from the BWC’s Employer Compliance Department indicating Bevis Towing was continuing to operate without the required workers’ compensation insurance coverage. The Employer Fraud Team attempted to work with the owner, Douglass Bevis, in an effort to bring him into compliance with state law. Bevis did submit completed payroll reports for the non-compliant periods but failed to make any attempts to become compliant. Bevis was sentenced to one year of community control. As part of the plea deal, he repaid $10,109.75 for outstanding premiums.

Donald Whitford (Brunswick, Medina County) pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud Sept. 25 in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas for working while receiving benefits. BWC opened an investigation after receiving an allegation that Whitford may be working while he was supposed to be recovering from a workplace injury. Further investigation revealed Whitford did work for Brunswick Home Improvement, as well as in a self-employed capacity, while receiving Temporary Total Disability benefits. Customer checks were identified and payroll records from Brunswick Home Improvement revealed he returned to work as a roofer and a general construction worker. Several customers identified and confirmed that they hired Whitford to complete some home repairs during the same time he was claiming to be disabled. Whitford was sentenced to a suspended jail sentence of 180 days, and ordered to pay restitution totaling $3,239.23.

Randall Bridges, Jr. (Steubenville, Jefferson County) pleaded guilty Sept. 17 in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to one misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. SID opened an investigation after receiving an anonymous allegation that Bridges was working as a sales person for Global Childcare Resources in Steubenville. The investigation revealed Bridges was employed as a sales person/independent contractor. He knowingly worked during periods he was receiving Temporary Total Disability benefits for a prior workplace injury. Bridges was sentenced to 90 days in jail, suspended for two years of community control under the condition that he pay restitution in the amount of $6,151.45, maintain employment and have no new convictions.

Jeffrey Bostic (Columbus, Franklin County) pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of theft for forgery. SID received an allegation from an injured worker indicating that someone in his previous apartment had stolen and cashed his BWC benefits check. The injured worker had moved out of the apartment but was continuing to pick up his mail at the apartment. The investigation found Jeffrey Bostic stole the $2,423.25 check and forged the claimant’s name on the back of the check. He made arrangements to deposit the check into a friend’s bank account and later had the friend withdraw the funds. Bostic was sentenced Sept. 5 to 180 days in jail, suspended in place of probation, which included five years of community control. Conditions are that he pay restitution in the amount of $2,423.25, receive alcohol/drug treatment, obtain/maintain fulltime verifiable employment and have no new convictions.

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

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