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Happy Anniversary to our Fraud Hotline system!

November 17, 2020 Leave a comment

International Fraud Awareness Week 2020

By Jeff Baker, Program Administrator, Central Operations, BWC Special Investigations Department

Our Special Investigations Department (SID) is celebrating the third anniversary of our Fraud Hotline system this month.

We launched this system on Nov. 14, 2017, during Fraud Awareness Week, and what a successful launch and three years it has been! We’ve received more than 3,900 calls since then from sources suspecting workers’ compensation fraud by injured workers, businesses, and health care providers. That’s an average of more than five each workday.

“Clearly, this important tool is working and we’re glad to have it,” said SID Director Jim Wernecke. “Fraud raises the cost of workers’ compensation for all of us, so the sooner we can stop it, the better.”

If you suspect workers’ compensation fraud in Ohio, give us a call at 1-800-644-6292 or complete a simplified online fraud referral form on our website, We will conduct an investigation and determine the facts.

Together, we are successfully combatting workers’ compensation fraud in Ohio.

Today, and always, we thank you for your support!

Special Investigations unveils new, improved referral form

November 17, 2020 Leave a comment

By Jennifer Cunningham, Assistant Director, Field Operations, BWC Special Investigations Department

We value the public’s assistance in helping us identify instances of potential fraud. To make it easier for people to file reports, our Special Investigations Department (SID) worked with the BWC Information Technology division to create a simplified online fraud referral form.

The form, which you still access by visiting our website, now only requires the subject’s first name (or initial) and last name. Of course, we continue to welcome and will use any and all information a source may furnish us. For example, including an injured worker subject’s full name, date of birth (or age), address, or city and state of residence, ensures we will immediately know whom to investigate.

The simplified form uploads the allegation into our case management database and immediately assigns the referral to the appropriate SID team for review and research. It also provides tipsters an immediate confirmation, including the fraud allegation number for future reference or follow-up.

Whether the subject is an injured worker, provider, employer, or someone else, the new form routes the allegation to the appropriate SID personnel. For example, if you select Injured Worker as the subject, the allegation will automatically go to one of the three SID injured worker teams based on the ZIP code or county of residence for the injured worker.

In addition to online, fraud can also be reported by calling 1-800-644-6292 or emailing allegations.W.1@bwc.state.oh.us.

As always, SID thanks you for your assistance in reporting and stopping workers’ compensation fraud.

Categories: Uncategorized

Former police officer convicted for workers’ comp fraud

November 13, 2020 Leave a comment

North Canton man owes BWC $89,000

A retired police officer for the city of Canton pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud Thursday after the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) discovered him working two jobs while claiming to be permanently disabled.

James H. Blaine of North Canton must pay BWC $66,481 in restitution and $23,000 in investigative costs after pleading guilty to the fourth-degree felony charge through a bill of information hearing in the Stark County Court of Common Pleas. A judge also ordered Blaine to serve three years of probation, obtain a full-time job, and provide 100 hours of community service.

“If you’re working two jobs, you’re clearly not permanently disabled,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “Kudos to our investigators for detecting this fraud and putting a stop to it.”

BWC’s Special Investigations Department discovered Blaine working as a security guard for a private company in late 2017 and operating his own landscaping business while collecting permanent total disability benefits for an injury he suffered while working for a salt company. His fraudulent activity is unrelated to his former job as a police officer in Canton, where he retired in 1997, according to city records.

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