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Archive for February, 2014

Former Barberton man sentenced to prison for workers’ comp fraud

February 28, 2014 1 comment

Joshua Collmar, formerly of Barberton (Summit County), was sentenced for working while collecting workplace injury benefits.

Booking Photo - CollmarBWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) began investigating after receiving an allegation that Collmar was scrapping junk vehicles while collecting temporary total disability benefits. SID agents obtained evidence from scrap yards and interviewed customers, who verified that Collmar scrapped junk vehicles and was paid cash for his services.

Injured workers are not permitted to work while receiving temporary total disability benefits.

Collmar pleaded guilty Feb. 24 to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony. He was sentenced to six months of incarceration and was credited for serving six months in jail. He’s currently serving a prison sentence until 2015 for an unrelated matter. The overpayment amount is $6,021.07.

Understanding surveillance: Making the difference in the courtroom

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a whole video?  For Jason Dross, of Celina, Ohio, it’s worth at least $31,736.98. That’s how much he has to pay in court-ordered restitution after a video of him bench-pressing more than 500 pounds at his local YMCA aided in his workers’ compensation fraud conviction.

This crime could have been harder to prove had it not been for the quality surveillance performed and video gathered by BWC Special Investigations Department (SID) agents. It’s one thing to hear that Dross lifted large amounts of weights while claiming to be able to lift no more than 10 pounds, but it’s an entirely different matter to see the objective evidence.

Facts are stubborn, and it turns out they’re even harder to ignore. Good surveillance supports criminal investigators by establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed. When it comes to preserving the State Insurance Fund for honest employers and truly injured workers, ensuring that SID has up-to-date electronic surveillance equipment is crucial to our mission of detecting and prosecuting workers’ compensation fraud.

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Yet, this technology is changing and improving every day. The equipment becomes better and the results not only become more certifiable, but also more valuable to an investigation. Because electronic surveillance is essential to any good investigation, the BWC, in partnership with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, is hosting an Electronic Surveillance Equipment Symposium on April 17.

Law enforcement professionals from state, local, federal and international agencies are invited to attend. Together, we will see the latest electronic surveillance equipment as well as seminar lectures and equipment demonstrations by some of the leading experts in the field. A few spots are still available, so register now if you’re a law enforcement official and would like to attend.

For more information, we also encourage you to read our previous articles on the ESES, “In Law Enforcement? Attend Our Free Symposium!” and “What to Expect at ESES 2014.”

Categories: SID Information

Lima man fled Ohio after he was caught on camera committing workers’ comp fraud

February 28, 2014 1 comment

John Neeley Booking PhotoColumbus – A Lima (Allen County) man was ordered to pay nearly $7,000 in restitution and investigative costs for working while collecting workplace injury benefits. John Neeley pleaded guilty Feb. 19 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas after undercover investigators with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation caught him on video working while he was supposed to be recovering from a workplace injury.

“We received an allegation that Mr. Neeley was working while collecting BWC disability benefits, and once he became aware of the investigation, he fled to Florida,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “Thanks to the anonymous tipster and our hard-working investigators, he has now been sentenced for his crime.”

Investigators gathered records and surveillance video, which confirmed Neeley’s return to work; they discovered he performed concrete installation jobs for several customers between July and October 2012.


Neeley pleaded guilty to one count of workers’ compensation fraud and was sentenced to 180 days in jail. He received 59 days of jail time credit, and the remaining 121 days were suspended for three years of community control. The terms of his community control include basic supervision, with telephone reporting allowed as long as he makes a good faith effort to obtain/maintain employment and pay $4,878.14 in restitution and $2,000 in investigative costs to the BWC. The judge ordered Neeley to pay $250 per month to the BWC. He must pay at least $2,250 by Dec. 31, or he will be sent to jail to serve the rest of his sentence.

Surveillance video of Neeley is available here. A photo is available here.

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, follow Fraud Fridays on Twitter @OhioBWCFraud, or join in the conversation at www.facebook.com/ohiobwcfraud. View and share BWC’s workers’ comp fraud awareness video on our YouTube channel.

Butler County man ordered to repay nearly $60K in workers’ comp death benefits

??????????????????????Columbus – A Monroe (Butler County) man was ordered to repay nearly $60,000 in workers’ compensation death benefits. Adam Osterman pleaded guilty Feb. 13 in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony.

“As the son of a worker killed on the job, Mr. Osterman was eligible to receive death benefits up to age 25, if he enrolled at an accredited educational institution,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “Our investigators found that he submitted proof of enrollment at a community college in Dayton, but didn’t attend classes or dropped the classes afterward. Thanks to the hard work of our Special Investigations Department, the money Mr. Osterman improperly received will be returned to the BWC.”

Investigators opened a case after receiving an allegation that Osterman bragged about enrolling in classes and dropping them to receive BWC death benefits. They found that from 2010 to 2012, Osterman submitted documentation that he enrolled in community college classes, but either didn’t attend or dropped those classes after submitting documentation to the BWC.

Osterman was placed on community control for five years. Conditions of his community control include repaying $59,213.83 in restitution to the BWC, obtaining and maintaining employment, and paying court costs. Osterman will serve eight months in prison if these terms are violated.

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, follow Fraud Fridays on Twitter @OhioBWCFraud, or join in the conversation at www.facebook.com/ohiobwcfraud. View and share BWC’s workers’ comp fraud awareness video on our YouTube channel.

Workers’ compensation fraud is bad for business

Learn how investigators detect fraud at the 2014 Ohio Safety Congress & Expo (OSC14) next month.OSC14logoclr

A panel of experts from BWC’s Special Investigations Department will discuss the signs of workers’ compensation fraud. The fraud presentation, “Workers’ Compensation Fraud: Do You Know If It’s Happening to You?”  will be offered twice:  Session 614, March 26 from 1:15-2:15 p.m. and session 634, March 27 from 1:15-2:15 p.m. Admission is free to all Ohio employers and employees.

The event will take place in Columbus at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

Attendees will learn:

  • How and when to report suspected workers’ compensation fraud;
  • Warning signs of injured worker, employer and provider fraud;
  • Differences between civil and criminal workers’ comp fraud cases;
  • Actions to deter and prevent workers’ comp fraud in the workplace;
  • How workers’ comp fraud raises the costs of medical services, premiums and doing business.

These are among 175 expert-led educational sessions being held during the three-day event. Other topics include ergonomics, construction safety, emergency planning and safety program development. A two-day Expo marketplace allows attendees to shop for workplace solutions and gather ideas.

Come for a few hours or attend sessions on all three days. All sessions offer free continuing education credits. A full schedule of sessions is available by clicking here.

Register for OSC14 today!

Categories: News Articles

What to expect at ESES 2014

February 14, 2014 2 comments

eses14We’re two months away from the first Electronic Surveillance and Equipment Symposium (ESES).  We have slated a list of panels, speakers and presentations we believe you will respect and appreciate.

The symposium will take place on April 17 at the Rhodes Center in the Ohio Expo Center. Here are the five expert-led seminar sessions tentatively scheduled:

  • “Cell Phone Tracking Equipment” will feature David Rosenblatt and Joseph Turley from the Harris Corporation;
  • “Concealing Cameras in Everyday Items” will be presented by Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Banks from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office;
  • Sgt. Justin Cromer of the Ohio State Highway Patrol will speak about “Aviation Surveillance;”
  • “Legal Issues Regarding Electronic Surveillance” will be addressed by a representative from the U. S. Attorney’s Office;
  • “Drone Surveillance” will be presented by Kelly Cohen, associate professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics at the University of Cincinnati,  Manish Kumar, associate professor of  mechanical engineering at the University of Toledo, Larry Bennett, professor and program chair of the fire science and emergency management program at the University of Cincinnati, Wei Wei, a Ph.D. student at the University of Cincinnati, and Bryan Brown, a graduate student leading the Surveillance for Intelligent Emergency Response Robotic Aircraft (SIERRA) team at the University of Cincinnati.

Following the final session, the exhibition hall will feature a number of surveillance equipment vendors displaying the latest gear the industry has to offer.

Beverages, lunch and other refreshments will be available for purchase throughout the day at the onsite cafeteria.

We hope you will join us for what will certainly be a productive and informative day.  If you are a law enforcement official interested in attending, click here to register.  For more information, we also encourage you to read our previous articles on the ESES, “Electronic Surveillance Equipment Symposium: Calling Equipment Vendors!” and “In Law Enforcement? Attend Our Free Symposium!

Categories: News Articles

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

February 14, 2014 2 comments

Columbus – Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer today announced that five individuals were convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, charges related to defrauding Ohio’s workers’ compensation system in January 2014. 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.

“The faces of workers’ compensation fraud vary – it could be an employer, an employee or a medical provider,” said Buehrer. “Our Special Investigations Department is highly trained to detect and investigate all cases of workers’ compensation fraud for the purpose of protecting the State Insurance Fund.”

The following case information represents a sampling of cases that resulted in guilty pleas or convictions during January.

Darryl Franklin (Upper Arlington, Franklin County) was placed on five years of community control and ordered to pay $7,124.40 in restitution to the BWC for collecting improper death benefits. He pleaded guilty to theft, a first-degree misdemeanor. Investigators received an allegation from a BWC claims service specialist that they hadn’t been able to reach the widow of an injured worker, who died from a work-related injury in 1984; she was awarded death benefits after her husband died. Investigators confirmed that the woman, Franklin’s mother, died in January 2012. Since BWC was unaware of her death, compensation benefits continued to be paid to her bank account. Using bank surveillance cameras and account transaction records, investigators found that Franklin took BWC funds after her death.

Alberta Allen (Cincinnati, Hamilton County) was sentenced in connection with working and receiving benefits to serve 10 days in jail, which was suspended for time already served. Allen, who pleaded guilty to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor, had previously settled her BWC claim and overpayment of $3,290.05. SID began investigating when a data cross match with another state agency revealed Allen received wages from another company from September 2011 to April 2012 while collecting workers’ comp benefits.

Daniel Squibbs (Orwell, Ashtabula County) was sentenced for working while receiving benefits. He pleaded guilty Jan. 13 to one count of theft, a first-degree misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 14 days in jail, which was suspended for payment of court costs. He had previously submitted a $2,882 payment to BWC to cover restitution. Investigators received an allegation that Squibbs was working while receiving temporary total disability benefits. Employment records confirmed that Squibbs worked at a restaurant while receiving benefits.

Tariq Arif (Fairfield, Hamilton County) was ordered to pay nearly $70,000 in restitution and investigative costs to BWC for billing for treatment not rendered to injured workers. He pleaded guilty Jan. 13 to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor, as part of a plea agreement. SID agents posed as injured workers and sought treatment from Arif’s chiropractic and rehabilitation clinic. A search warrant was executed as well. Arif was sentenced to serve 180 days in jail, which was suspended for five years of community control. He was also ordered to pay $10,169.96 in restitution and $59,186.20 in investigative costs as a term of his community control.

To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov. Check out our latest cases on our fraud blog, ohiobwcfraud.wordpress.com, follow Fraud Fridays on Twitter @OhioBWCFraud, or join in the conversation at http://www.facebook.com/ohiobwcfraud. View and share BWC’s workers’ comp fraud awareness video on our YouTube channel.

Follow BWC on Twitter.