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Video surveillance exposes Sidney couple’s scheme to defraud BWC

Agency closes 11 cases in June, July   

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) closed 11 cases involving workers’ compensation fraud and related charges in June and July, bringing total convictions for BWC to 47 for calendar year 2020.

“Workers’ compensation fraud can happen anywhere in Ohio,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “That’s why we have dedicated investigators in every corner of the state to uncover folks — whether they’re employers, injured workers or medical providers — who try to cheat the system.”

Among the June cases is a Sidney, Ohio, couple sentenced on felony charges related to workers’ compensation fraud after a BWC investigation found the husband mowing lawns, using a snow blower, and chopping wood while claiming to be permanently and totally disabled from work.

A Shelby County judge sentenced David Juillerat on June 8 to five years of probation in lieu of jail time and a fine of $1,000 for his conviction on a reduced charge of attempted tampering with records, a fourth-degree felony. Juillerat’s wife, Wendy Juillerat, was sentenced three days earlier on a similar charge, attempted complicity to tampering with records, also a fourth-degree felony. A judge sentenced her to five years of probation in lieu of jail time and to pay court costs.

David Juillerat applied to BWC in 2018 for permanent total disability benefits, claiming a work injury left him unable to drive a car or walk without the assistance of a walker. Acting on a tip that he might be faking his injury, agents with BWC’s Special Investigations Department surveilled David for several weeks in 2019. They filmed him on multiple occasions entering and leaving medical offices with a walker. Away from a medical office, however, agents filmed him walking, shopping, working on his car, chopping wood, and other activities, all without the use of a cane or walker.

As for Wendy Juillerat, agents say she admitted to helping her husband complete his application for permanent total disability and accompanied him to numerous doctor’s appointments in which she would exaggerate his physical limitations in order for the disability to be granted.

Based on BWC’s investigation, David Juillerat’s application for disability benefits was denied in late 2019, saving BWC an estimated $233,668 in benefits over the projected life of the claim.

 

Other cases in June and July include:

 

Joseph Ferguson of Toledo

Ferguson pleaded guilty July 24 in Franklin County Common Pleas Court to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor, after a BWC investigation revealed he was working as a web development supervisor while receiving benefits from BWC from October 2017 to January 2018. The judge sentenced Ferguson to five years of community control and ordered him to pay restitution of $6,473 to BWC. If he violates the terms of his community control, he will serve 60 days in jail.

 

Ruth Asamoah of Columbus

On July 13, Asamoah pleaded guilty to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony, for working while receiving BWC disability benefits. BWC investigators found Asamoah worked for eight employers, performing the same or similar jobs she was doing when she was injured. A Franklin County judge ordered her to pay $15,020 in restitution and sentenced her to an 11-month jail sentence, suspended for five years of probation.

 

Jeffrey Berkley of Taylor, Michigan

BWC investigators found Berkley working as a driver, transporting cars around the Midwest, while receiving BWC benefits from July 2014 to September 2014. On July 7, Berkley pleaded guilty in Franklin County to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. The judge sentenced him to a 12-month suspended jail sentence and ordered him to pay restitution of $2,668 to BWC. Berkley paid the full amount of restitution to the clerk of courts prior to the plea.

 

Marguerite Cervantes of Perrysburg

Cervantes pleaded guilty July 2 to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony, in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. A BWC investigation revealed Cervantes had returned to work as a clinical nurse from April to October 2016 while collecting temporary total disability benefits. The judge sentenced her to an 11-month suspended jail sentence, five years of probation, and ordered her to pay restitution of $16,885.

 

Angela Berardelli of North Canton

A BWC investigation revealed Berardelli was working at a restaurant while receiving BWC benefits from January 2016 to June 2017. On June 30, Berardelli pleaded guilty to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. She received a sentence of 90 days in jail suspended for 12 months of community control. The judge ordered Berardelli to pay restitution of $10,194 to BWC. She made a payment of $6,500 at the time of plea.

 

Patricia Black of Cincinnati

Black pleaded guilty June 16 in Franklin County to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony. An investigation by BWC found Black working as an office cleaner while receiving BWC benefits from January 2018 to October 2018. Black was ordered to pay $18,407 in restitution and sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for three years of non-reporting community control.

 

To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 (Option 4, Option 0, Option 1) or visit bwc.ohio.gov.

 

Toledo Man Caught on Camera Roofing While on Workers’ Comp

October 18, 2011 1 comment

Daniel Uribes sentenced in fraud case

A Toledo (Lucas County) man has been sentenced in a fraud case after investigators from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) captured video not only showing him working a roofing job while receiving benefits, but also leaving the worksite to attend a hearing on his workers’ comp case, and later returning to finish the job. The investigation, conducted by BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) resulted in a guilty plea by Daniel Uribes, who was sentenced the Toledo Municipal Court last week.

“It is ironic that our investigators were able to catch Uribes on tape taking a break from his illegal work activity to attend a hearing related to his workers’ compensation case,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephen Buehrer.  “It is also telling of the lengths some will go when committing fraud, and a reminder to us of the importance of our work to put an end to it.”

Uribes became the subject of an investigation after SID obtained evidence that he engaged in roofing work with his father while receiving Temporary Total Disability benefits for a workplace injury.  A surveillance operation showed Uribes was performing roofing work at a residence in Toledo.  During the surveillance, Uribes left the job site to travel to downtown Toledo and attend his Industrial Commission hearing on a separate issue related to his incarceration while collecting disability.  After the hearing, the investigators followed Uribes back to the work site, where he returned to work on the roof and more video was obtained. 

Uribes originally pleaded not guilty but withdrew and entered a no contest plea to a misdemeanor charge of workers’ compensation fraud.  The judge sentenced Mr. Uribes to ten days in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, with credit for time served.  Mr. Uribes had already paid his full restitution of $3,254.30. 

If you suspect that a subject is committing workers’ compensation fraud, let us know. You may report it online at http://bit.ly/reportfraud or you may speak with a fraud hotline agent by calling 1-800-OHIOBWC.

https://www.ohiobwc.com/home/current/releases/2011/101811.asp

Zannoni Sentenced for Fraud Related to Improper Prescribing and Billing

Zannoni UC Screenshot

Dr. Jean Zannoni

Dr. Jean Zannoni of Parma (Cuyahoga County) has been sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay more than $7,500 in fines and restitution after pleading guilty to theft, attempted workers’ compensation fraud and telecommunications fraud. The action occurred following an undercover investigation of an alleged “pill mill” by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

“Through our investigation, we were able to determine Dr. Zannoni was not only fraudulently billing BWC, but providing narcotics without proper medical examination,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephen Buehrer. “This action should serve as a warning to those physicians who put money before the proper treatment of injured workers.”

BWC’s Special Investigations Division teamed up with the Strongsville Police Department and Westshore Enforcement Bureau in 2007 to investigate an alleged pill mill at Cleveland Family Practice, 4732 Pearl Road in Cleveland. BWC supplied two undercover agents for the investigation and both were provided narcotic medications without proper medical examinations and BWC was billed improperly for the office visit. Search warrants later executed at her office and residence turned up a copy of orders Zannoni provided to her staff that instructed them to bill all injured workers under the same code and charge BWC $75 no matter the circumstances of their visit.

The team also obtained copies of patient files, including those of BWC’s undercover agents.

Undercover video above shows Parma doctor prescribing narcotics to BWC agents who reported no pain

Zannoni’s records falsely indicated she delivered services to the agents that she never provided, and that she elevated pain levels and fabricated tests to justify her continual prescribing of pain medication. When an agent conveyed that she had no pain, Zannoni advised her she had to have pain in order to receive a prescription; however, she wrote the prescription anyway. After the same agent had an MRI that returned normal, Zannoni continued to write the narcotic prescriptions without a physical examination and bill improperly for the visit.

Investigators also found that Zannoni continued to prescribe narcotics to patients who were known doctor shoppers even after receiving warnings from pharmacies, parents, spouses, social service agencies and police departments. In at least one circumstance, Zannoni confronted one of these patients about receiving narcotics from another physician but continued to prescribe on the condition that he promise he would only receive his pain medications from her.

Zannoni originally entered a no contest plea to these charges in September, 2010, but withdrew her plea in October. She pleaded again in June and was given probation, and ordered to pay restitution to BWC in the amount of $5,067.34 and a fine of $2,500.

To report fraud online, please visit: http://bit.ly/reportfraud.
To speak with a fraud hotline agent, please call: 1-800-OHIOBWC.

http://www.ohiobwc.com/home/current/releases/2011/070711.asp

Surveillance Video Captures Cleveland Man Committing Workers’ Comp Fraud

Paneto SurveillanceA Cleveland man has been sentenced after an undercover investigation captured video showing his work remodeling homes during a time in which he was receiving workers’ compensation benefits and claimed to be incapable of working. Luiz Paneto pleaded guilty to a fourth degree felony of workers’ compensation fraud in March and was ordered Friday to repay more than $43,000 he fraudulently received from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC).

“Workers’ comp fraud comes in many forms, and we will utilize all of our resourcesto detect, investigate and deter deception wherever it exists,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephen Buehrer. “Filing false or exaggerated claims are forms of fraud that are especially disturbing, given there are so many who would like to return to work but have very real injuries that keep them from their livelihoods.”

Paneto was working in construction for a general contractor when he sustained a workplace injury in 2001. He received Temporary Total Disability and Living Maintenance benefits from that time until he was granted Permanent Total Disability in 2007.

Paneto Undercover StillBWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) received an anonymous complaint in 2009 stating that Paneto was working for a home remodeling company as a laborer and home remodeler. SID conducted surveillance and Paneto was seen walking, lifting heavy construction materials, driving his truck, and performing work as a home remodeler at numerous houses.

Paneto was interviewed at a job site in April, 2010 and admitted to working in violation of his receipt of BWC benefits. He admitted he was doing the same work he had done prior to his injury, and stated he knew he was prohibited from working while receiving Permanent Total Disability benefits. Paneto later attended a BWC hearing on his case wearing a large ankle brace and using the cane to walk.

Luiz Paneto was sentenced on April 29 in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to five years of community control and ordered to pay restitution of $24,122.47 and another $19,517.67 for investigative costs.

To report fraud online, please visit: http://bit.ly/reportfraud.
To speak with a fraud hotline agent, please call: 1-800-OHIOBWC.

http://www.ohiobwc.com/home/current/releases/2011/050211.asp