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Archive for October, 2015

BWC SID: Our Journey to Excellence – Part 1 of 3

0005 -- Administrator Buehrer -- Introductory Remarks -- IMG_2876In our constant quest for improvement, all members of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Special Investigations Department (SID) gathered on October 22, 2015 at our Mansfield service office to successfully complete annual in-service training. The theme of this year’s training event was “Our Journey to Excellence: Past, Present and Future.”

BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer welcomed the 125 attendees and opened the meeting. In his opening remarks, Administrator Buehrer praised the department’s more than 20 years of success, noting that throughout its history SID has generated more than $7 in savings for every budgetary dollar expended. He cited other SID performance results, lauding SID for having annually identified more than $55 million in savings to the State Insurance Fund during each of the last five consecutive years.

“Investigating fraud is a vital part of the workers’ compensation business,” Administrator Buehrer said. “Identifying fraud puts dollars back into the State Insurance Fund and supports our efforts to keep premiums as low as possible.”

SID Mtg 2015

Pictured left to right: James Wernecke, Jennifer Saunders, Tamela Dixon, Sarah Morrison and Steve Buehrer.

Following these remarks, Administrator Buehrer, Chief Legal Officer Sarah Morrison, SID Director James Wernecke and SID Assistant Director Jennifer Saunders presented service pins to 14 SID employees. These recipients included seven employees with 20 years of service and one, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Tamela Dixon, with 25 years of service to the State of Ohio.

Subsequently, SID Director James Wernecke thanked Administrator Buehrer for his executive leadership, ongoing support for SID’s mission, and presence at the annual event. All of members of the Special Investigations Department joined Director Wernecke in thanking Administrator Buehrer for inspiring us to realize our departmental mission to deter, detect, investigate and prosecute workers’ compensation fraud.

In the coming two weeks, we will offer more details from October 22 training event. Stay tuned for part two of the series, which acknowledges specialized training we received at the event.

In the meantime, you can read the past posts about our SID Director here and our most recent annual report here.

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Logan County fire chief pleads guilty to workers’ compensation fraud

Donald Detrick booking photoColumbus – The chief of the Bokecreek Fire Department in Logan County paid more than $25,000 in restitution to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) this week after pleading guilty to workers’ compensation fraud. Donald Detrick appeared in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on Oct. 27 following a BWC investigation that found he worked three jobs while collecting workers’ compensation benefits.

“BWC’s goal is to assist injured workers so they can recover and return to their jobs as quickly as possible,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “The type of benefit Mr. Detrick was receiving is reserved for those whose injuries prevent them from returning to work. That’s why the money he has returned will be put back into our fund and be used to provide compensation and medical care to truly injured workers.”

BWC’s Special Investigations Department opened an investigation after receiving an allegation that Detrick, of West Mansfield, may be working while receiving benefits for a workplace injury. The investigation revealed that Detrick worked as the fire chief for Bokecreek Township in Logan County, fire safety coordinator for York Township in Logan County and as a certified water inspector for Midwest Express while collecting temporary total disability benefits.

Prior to the plea, Detrick paid $25,586.40 to the Clerk of Courts in order to pay in full his restitution of $22,155.04 and investigative costs of $3,431.36. A judge sentenced him to community control for six months under the condition that he pay the restitution and investigative costs, have no new convictions, and pay all court costs. He will serve six months in jail if he does not meet these terms.

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.

Delaware County man ran heating and cooling business while on workers’ comp

MORROWTimothy Morrow of Delaware (Delaware County) pleaded guilty to one first-degree misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud on Oct. 20 in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

SID opened an investigation after receiving an allegation that Morrow was operating his own HVAC business while receiving disability benefits from the BWC.

The investigation, which included a review of bank records and multiple interviews, confirmed Morrow did own and operate a business, TTM Mechanical, and conducted HVAC installations and repairs during the time he was receiving benefits. The evidence obtained during the course of the investigation also revealed that he intentionally misrepresented and withheld his employment from BWC.

Morrow was sentenced to 30 days in the Franklin County Jail, suspended, and he was placed on six months of probation.  He was also ordered to pay court costs along with $8,399.74 in restitution to BWC.  The restitution was paid at the clerk’s office after the hearing.

New BWC blog!

We’re pleased to partner with our colleagues at BWC as they join us in the blogosphere!

Just this week, BWC launched an agency blog called Prevention & Care.

The blog will be your one-stop for all the most recent updates from BWC, as well as offer helpful information and tips on a range of issues. The blog features sections covering a number of topics of interest, including, of course, SID’s fraud prevention and detection efforts.

Prevention & Care kicked off with a post reflecting on the importance of making safety a priority in every workplace.

Be sure to check out the blog here and keep coming back here for the latest from BWC’s Special Investigations Department.

Categories: Uncategorized

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

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

“The cases this month show workers’ comp fraud comes in many forms, including businesses that don’t maintain coverage to protect their workers,” said Buehrer. “We’ll continue to fight this kind of fraud, just as we intend to put a stop to any claimants who knowingly return to work in order to maintain their workers’ comp benefits.”

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

Joshua W Shoaff, dba JWS Window Cleaning, (Uniontown, Stark County) pleaded guilty Sept. 14 to one first-degree misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud for altering his certificate of coverage. SID received an allegation from the BWC Safety Violations Investigations Unit that Shoaff’s business, JWS Window Cleaning, had multiple claims filed against the business and its policy had lapsed. The Employer Fraud Team’s investigation found a BWC certificate of coverage that had been intentionally altered by the employer in attempt to show valid BWC coverage to a potential client. Shoaff was sentenced in the Stark County Court of Common Pleas to probation and ordered to continue making payments on the outstanding debt owed to BWC after he took the necessary steps to reinstate his policy.

Patrice Myers (Columbus, Franklin County) pleaded guilty Sept. 9 to one first-degree misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. SID began investigating after receiving an allegation that Myers was working at a pharmacy while receiving benefits for a workplace injury. The investigation found that Myers did work at the pharmacy while receiving temporary total disability benefits. Claimants are not permitted to work while receiving this type of benefit. SID obtained employment records that confirmed Myers was paid every two weeks and worked approximately 30 to 40 hours per week during the same time period she received the benefits. Myers was ordered in a Franklin County courtroom to pay $7,566.24 in restitution to BWC, and sentenced to 180 days in jail, suspended for five years of community control.

Brent Taylor (Nelsonville, Athens County) pleaded guilty Sept. 14 to one misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. SID opened an investigation after receiving an allegation that Taylor was engaged in work activity while he was receiving temporary total disability benefits for a workplace injury. The investigation revealed Taylor knowingly engaged in work activities while receiving this benefit that does not permit a return to work. Specifically, the investigation confirmed he worked as a girls’ basketball coach and provided lawn care services while concealing his activities from BWC. A Franklin County judge placed Taylor on five years of community control and ordered to pay $30,000 in restitution, with $13,500 to be paid at the time of the plea, in addition to $1,750 in investigative costs. Taylor submitted $13,500 to the Franklin County Clerk’s Office prior to his plea.

Angel Cardona (Columbus, Franklin County) pleaded guilty Sept. 22 to one fifth-degree felony count of workers’ compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. SID initiated an investigation after receiving an allegation that Cardona was working and receiving compensation at the same time. The investigation, which included surveillance, a review of bank records and interviews, found Cardona was gainfully employed with Marvin Cruz and Mountaineer Framing and Roofing during periods for which he also received temporary total and living maintenance benefits. The evidence obtained during the course of the investigation revealed Cardona intentionally misrepresented and withheld his employment in order to collect BWC benefits. Cardona was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended, for four years of community control. He was also ordered to pay $83,892.86 in restitution to BWC.

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 view BWC’s workers’ comp fraud awareness video on YouTube.

Geauga County workers’ comp fraudster later found guilty of much more serious charge

An agent with BWC’s Special Investigations Department recently testified at the trial of a woman facing murder charges.  On Oct. 1, in the Geauga County Court of Common Pleas, Dorretta Scheffield was found guilty of murdering her husband, Randy.

SID opened an investigation into Scheffield and her daughter, Beth Rowles, in 2009 after receiving an allegation.  Rowles, was receiving benefits for a workplace injury that allowed her to work but required her to report earnings to determine benefit levels.  Investigators found Scheffield was writing checks to her daughter, Beth Rowles, for her work as a secretarial assistant at her husband’s company, Scheffield Lawns Inc. The only problem was Rowles wasn’t actually working and Scheffield wrote the checks from the business’s account so Rowles could submit copies to BWC in order to continue receiving her benefits.

Both women pleaded guilty in 2013 to felony counts of workers’ compensation fraud and served one year of community control.

Read more about Scheffield’s trial here: http://www.geaugamapleleaf.com/news/guilty-guilty-guilty-2/

Categories: News Articles