Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer recently announced that several individuals were convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, charges related to defrauding Ohio’s workers comp system in March. These court actions are the result of investigations conducted by BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID).
The following are a sampling of cases that resulted in guilty pleas or convictions during March:
Kevin Gruver (Elyria, Lorain County) pleaded guilty to a first-degree misdemeanor count of workers comp fraud in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas March 16 for working while receiving benefits. SID began investigating Gruver after receiving an allegation indicating he had returned to work with Adecco while collecting benefits for a workplace injury. Investigators found that Gruver did return to work with Adecco and worked as a temporary employee for multiple companies, including Leggett and Platt, Wal-Mart, Pontoon First Energy Fieldglass, and 3M. This employment activity was inconsistent with Gruver’s receipt of temporary total disability benefits. Gruver was sentenced to 180 days in jail, suspended for two years of community control under the conditions that he maintain employment and pay restitution in the amount of $6,959.65.
Charles Bentley (Mentor, Lake County) pleaded guilty plea to one misdemeanor count of workers comp fraud in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on March 10 for working while receiving benefits. SID began investigating after receiving an anonymous allegation stating Bentley had been working “under the table” for a landscaping company for three years. Bentley should not have been working at all as he was receiving workers’ compensation benefits for a workplace injury. The investigation confirmed that Bentley returned to employment during the winter season as a snowplow truck driver while receiving temporary total disability benefits. Bentley had already paid the entire restitution in the amount of $22,125.60 to BWC. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail, suspended for 90 days of community control.
Amato Zaccone Jr. (Hubbard, Trumbull County) pleaded guilty to a first-degree misdemeanor count of workers comp fraud in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas March 10 for working while receiving benefits. SID began investigating Zaccone after a wage cross-match with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services indicated he was working during the same time period he was receiving BWC benefits for a workplace injury. Investigators conducted field interviews and obtained financial records that confirmed Zaccone was working as a cook for McMenamy’s, LLC while receiving Temporary Total Disability. Zaccone was sentenced to 90 days in jail, suspended for one year of community control on the condition that he pay restitution in the amount of $1,045.20.
Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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