For one Ohio woman, the kitchen got a little too hot.
BrooklynnMieczkowski of Columbus (Franklin County) was recently ordered to pay more than $10,000 after investigators with the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) recorded surveillance video showing the culinary student was improperly collecting workplace injury benefits.
Mieczkowski pleaded guilty June 24 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to one count of workers comp fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor.
“The video our investigators recorded raised serious questions about Ms. Mieczkowski’s injury, and was key to revealing her dishonesty,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “The benefits she improperly received will be rightfully returned to the self-insured employer who funded them.”
BWC’s Columbus Special Investigations Unit (SIU) received an allegation that Mieczkowski was involved in physical activity outside of her medical restrictions, and was possibly working, while receiving workers comp benefits. The SIU conducted surveillance, and observed Mieczkowski performing activities contrary to her medical restrictions.
Defendant Received Benefits While Attending Classes
The SIU also discovered Mieczkowski was a student at a local culinary school, and obtained records showing that she attended classes while receiving BWC benefits.
Mieczkowski participated in meal preparation training, which involved standing for up to three hours at a time, and did not appear to have an injury while attending classes. However, she used a cane each time she attended a hearing at the Ohio Industrial Commission and at her doctor’s office.
The SIU forwarded records and video surveillance to Mieczkowski’s doctor, who said Mieczkowski had inaccurately reported her symptoms and the extent of her injuries. The physician dismissed her from his practice.
Mieczkowski was ordered to pay $6,252 in restitution and $4,000 in investigative costs.
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: email@example.com.
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