Archive

Archive for December, 2016

SID donations brighten holidays for children in need

The elves in BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) were busy again this holiday season.

A truckload of toys were delivered Dec. 16 to the Columbus Fire Department Engine House #1 in downtown Columbus for its Firefighters for Kids toy drive.

A $500 check also went to Franklin County Children’s services for their holiday wish program, and 42 gift cards worth $545 were delivered to Dayton Children’s Hospital for patients and families in need.

The donations are a holiday tradition in SID, and the highlight of our year.

All of us in BWC’s SID wish you a happy holiday season and all the best in the New Year!

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(left to right) Fraud Analyst Beth Parker, Fraud Investigator Kelli Anderson and Special Agent in Charge Shawn Fox deliver gift cards to Kristi Brown (pictured next to Fox) with Dayton Children’s Hospital.

Becky Donchess, Vern Davenport, Pam Hunnicutt and Darrin Blosser of BWC’s Special Investigations Department deliver donations to Columbus Fire Department Engine House #1 in downtown Columbus.

Columbus woman who stole relative’s workers’ comp check pleads to theft charge

A Columbus woman who stole a relative’s workers’ comp check pleaded guilty to theft in a Franklin County courtroom last week.

Kelly Clark, 38, became the subject of an investigation after an injured worker contacted BWC’s Special Investigations Department to report he did not receive a benefits check he was expecting in the mail. He suspected it had been stolen and cashed by another party.

Investigators found that Clark, who had been living with the injured worker, her relative, stole the check and endorsed and cashed it without permission.

Clark pleaded guilty to a first degree misdemeanor count of theft on Dec. 15. She was sentenced to 90 days in the Franklin County Jail, including 30 days credited for time served and 60 days suspended as long as she pays $862 in restitution by Sept. 13, 2017.

The Court will hold a review hearing on March 23 to check on her progress toward paying off the restitution.

Landscaper cuts corners, gets workers’ comp fraud conviction

maguireA Cincinnati man who ran his landscaping business for at least five years without workers’ compensation coverage pleaded guilty to two fifth-degree felony counts of workers’ compensation fraud Dec. 6.

Acting on a tip in 2014, investigators with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation conducted surveillance and interviewed employees of William T. Maguire’s Grass Roots Landscaping & Lawn Care to determine Maguire continued to operate his business after his BWC policy lapsed in September 2009. Maguire, 35, owes premiums to BWC totaling $92,447.

Maguire’s sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 18 in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas. Penalty guidelines for a fifth-degree felony in Ohio include six to 12 months in prison and fines of up to $2,500. A judge also could order Maguire to pay restitution to BWC.

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

BWC investigators net 8 fraud convictions in November

BWC investigators secured eight convictions in November on cases involving workers’ compensation fraud, including two cases where suspects were found living and working in Florida.

“These cases demonstrate the skill and diligence of our investigators to track down and hold accountable those who try to cheat the workers’ compensation system,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison. “We will find cheats whether they are residing in Ohio or in the far corners of another state.”

As of Nov. 30, BWC’s Special Investigations Department had secured 99 convictions for the calendar year. November’s convictions include:

Jarrod Lewis of Palm Bay, Florida – Working and Receiving
Lewis pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud Nov. 28 after BWC investigators found him working as a carpet cleaner in Florida while collecting injured workers’ benefits from BWC. A judge ruled Lewis, formerly of Chillicothe, must pay $5,300 in restitution to BWC and serve five years probation in lieu of a 12-month prison sentence for committing the fifth-degree felony.

William Numbers, Sr., dba Nycom Inc., of Lima, Ohio (Allen County) – Operating without Coverage
Numbers pleaded guilty Nov. 21 to two second-degree misdemeanor counts of failure to comply after agents discovered he was operating his automobile transmission shop without valid BWC coverage. Numbers was sentenced to 30 days in jail (suspended), fined $300 and ordered to have no further failure to comply charges for the next two years.

Manuel Perez of West Portsmouth, Ohio (Scioto County) – Working and Receiving
Perez pleaded guilty Nov. 21 to misdemeanor counts of workers’ compensation fraud and theft. He must pay $132,239 in restitution to BWC and serve five years probation. He paid $10,000 toward his restitution at his sentencing. He also was sentenced to six months in jail, which was suspended so long as he complies with the terms of his probation.

Agents determined Perez collected injured workers’ benefits for four years while running an automobile repair shop out of his residence.

Thomas Gallagher of Dublin, Ohio (Franklin County) – False Claim
Gallagher pleaded guilty Nov. 16 to one first-degree misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud after investigators determined he had filed false injury reports twice in recent years to obtain painkillers at local hospital emergency departments. He was sentenced to six months probation and ordered to pay BWC $620 for the cost of investigating him.

Theodore Philput, dba as Berwick Electric Company, of Canal Winchester, Ohio (Fairfield County) – Operating without Coverage
Philput pleaded no contest Nov. 14 to four counts of workers’ compensation fraud, all first-degree misdemeanors, and a judge found him guilty on all charges. Investigators determined Philput’s BWC policy had been lapsed since October 2009. They served Philput compliance materials, but Philput failed to reinstate his coverage.

Philput provided BWC $29,609 in restitution at sentencing. A judge sentenced him to two years community control and warned he would serve 180 days in jail on each count if he violated terms of his probation.

Michael Mitchell of Whitehall, Ohio (Franklin County) – Working and Receiving
Mitchell pleaded guilty Nov. 7 to a fifth-degree felony count of workers’ compensation fraud during a court appearance that was delayed after he failed to appear for his 2013 arraignment. He was sentenced to 11 months of incarceration, suspended for five years of community control, and ordered to pay BWC $5,000 in restitution.

Investigators discovered Mitchell was self-employed as a painter and sub-contracted multiple jobs from various painting companies while also collecting benefits from BWC. They also determined Mitchell did not have current workers’ compensation coverage and that he altered his BWC certificate of coverage in order to secure painting jobs.

Nikitas Xipolitas of Tarpon Springs, Florida – Working and Receiving
Xipolitas, formerly of Mahoning County, pleaded guilty Nov. 4 to a fifth-degree felony count of workers’ compensation fraud after agents found him working in Florida while receiving workplace injury benefits and using multiple aliases to cover his crime. A judge sentenced Xipolitas to six months in jail, suspended for five years of community control, under the condition that he pay $23,601 in restitution to BWC.

Danielle Cheeks of Groveport, Ohio (Franklin County) – Working and Receiving
Cheeks pleaded guilty Nov. 3 to a fifth-degree felony count of workers’ compensation fraud after investigators discovered she had been working as a home health aide as far back as 2010 while receiving injured workers’ benefits from BWC. A judge ruled she must pay $51,590 in restitution to BWC and serve five years probation in lieu of a six-month jail sentence.

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

Cleveland painter guilty of workers’ comp fraud

reillo-photoA Cleveland-area man caught working while receiving injured workers’ benefits from BWC pleaded guilty Dec. 1 to a misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud.

Angelo Reillo Sr., 32, of Garfield Heights, paid $3,354 in restitution to BWC at the time of his guilty plea in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. A judge fined him $50.

Acting on a tip, agents with BWC’s Special Investigations Department found Reillo working as a painter and supervisor from Oct. 20, 2014, until Dec. 3 that year while receiving living maintenance benefits from BWC. Living maintenance compensation is designed for workers who are actively participating in a BWC-approved vocational rehabilitation plan. The benefits are supposed to end after the injured worker returns to full-time work.

Agents determined Reillo engaged in “ongoing and regular substantially gainful remunerative employment, which was inconsistent with the receipt of LM benefits and contrary to entitlement.”

Fraud conviction stains carpet cleaner’s record

A Florida man who had been collecting injured workers’ benefits from Ohio since 2011 pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud Monday after investigators with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation found him working as a carpet cleaner in Florida.

Jarrod B. Lewis, 40, of Palm Bay, Florida, must pay $5,300 in restitution to BWC and serve five years probation in lieu of a 12-month prison sentence for committing the fifth-degree felony, a Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge ruled Nov. 28.

Lewis, formerly of Chillicothe, Ohio, was working as a youth specialist for the Ohio Department of Youth Services when he was injured on the job in 2011. BWC’s Special Investigations Department started looking at Lewis in October 2013 after getting an anonymous tip that he was living and working in Florida. Agents determined Lewis returned to full-time work in April 2013 but intentionally withheld this information from BWC to receive benefits for which he was not entitled.

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