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Cutting class load costs man his BWC benefits

A North Carolina man collecting dependent death benefits from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) was sentenced on fraud charges last week for not fulfilling the educational requirements he needed to receive the benefits.

Ryan Somnitz, 25, of Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, must pay BWC $22,048 in restitution and serve five years community control, a judge in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas ruled Aug. 24. Somnitz pleaded guilty July 11 to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony.

To receive his BWC benefits, Somnitz was required to be pursuing a full-time educational program while enrolled in an accredited educational institution, but he was not. Acting on a tip, BWC’s Special Investigations Department found Somnitz consistently and knowingly remained in part-time student status and withheld from BWC that he was not a full-time student.

The judge ordered Somnitz to receive no new convictions or he would be sentenced to prison for one year. The judge gave him credit for 24 days already served.

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

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