Oklahoma Women Could Not Handle The Truth, Busted For Work Comp Fraud

Filed False Workers Comp Claim

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s Workers Compensation Fraud Unit has filed a charge against a Woodward woman for allegedly filing a false workers compensation claim.

According to the charge filed in Oklahoma County District Court, Edith J. Wilcoxson, 59, submitted a claim in December 2007 alleging she injured her lower back, hips, right leg and right foot in May 2006, while working as a medic for Woodward County Emergency Medical Services. She filed a supplemental form in 2008 to add her neck as an injury.

 

Testified Under Oath to Validity of Injuries

Wilcoxson testified under oath at a workers comp hearing less than a year later that she never had received any previous injuries to her neck, and said she never had been told by a doctor she had problems with her neck, according to a news release from the Attorney General’s Office. She also testified in September 2008 she never had injured her neck in a motor vehicle accident.

 

Investigation Showed Pre-Existing Conditions

An investigation by the AG’s Office a number of medical reports showing Wilcoxson had been notified by doctors of degenerative disc disease and a bulging disc in her spine prior to 2006.

In May 1999, Wilcoxson was involved in a motor vehicle accident while working with Woodward Police Department and was admitted to Woodward Hospital, according to the Attorney General’s Office. Workers comp paperwork filed by Wilcoxson following the accident listed her head, neck and left shoulder as injuries sustained from the accident. She subsequently visited a number of doctors who confirmed neck injuries, but denied a recommendation for neck surgery in 1999.

Wilcoxson also testified in a February 2001 workers comp hearing she had sustained an injury to her neck as a result of the motor vehicle accident.

 

Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 

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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

Workers Comp Fraud Charges in Ohio and Oklahoma

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt recently charged two men with workers compensation fraud. Charlie Jones, 45, of Norman faces one count of workers comp fraud. 
 

 
According to charges filed in Oklahoma County District Court, Jones had filed a claim for injuries to his right arm and hand allegedly sustained while working. He was awarded permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. In a medical re-evaluation two years later, Jones claimed constant pain with limited mobility.

 

During the investigation, Jones was observed feeding animals and cleaning his pool with no clear signs of pain or lessened mobility. The fraud resulted in Jones receiving $11,385 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

 

Meantime, Johnny Lee Crowder, 42, of Lawton also was charged with one count of workers comp fraud. According to charges filed in Oklahoma County District Court, Crowder filed a claim for injuries to his left hand when he tripped and fell while working. Crowder sought medical treatment for an injury to his hand sustained while at home. (WCxKit)

 

During the investigation, investigators found discrepancies in Jones’ claim and medical records. On the day in question, the business was closed for holiday and the ambulance picked him up at home not at work as he originally stated.

Ohio Man Not Liking the Tune of Workers Comp Fraud

An Austintown (Mahoning County), Ohio man was sentenced recently for workers comp fraud after Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) investigators caught him on video entertaining partygoers and bar patrons as a disc jockey.

 

According to the BWC, Randall Schornack pleaded guilty and must repay more than $27,000 he collected illegally while receiving benefits for a workplace injury. (WCxKit)

 

BWC's Special Investigation Department (SID) received an anonymous tip on the fraud hotline that Schornack was working as a disc jockey at area bars under the name "DJ Randy Stevens."

 

SID's investigation determined that Schornack was working as a DJ for several bars in Mayfield and also for a professional DJ service in Girard while receiving temporary total disability benefits. The SID obtained video of Schornack unloading and carrying speakers and other equipment from his vehicle into different establishments on a weekly basis and performing work services as a DJ. (WCxKit)

 

Schornack was sentenced in a Franklin County courtroom and the judge ordered him to pay $27,202.62 in restitution He was also sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for five years of community control.

 

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 
 
 
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Oklahoma AG Files Charges against Pair in Workers Comp Schemes

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s Workers Compensation Fraud Unit filed charges recently against Raul Obed Orozco, 50, of Perry, and Zeina Khatib, 49, of Tulsa.
 
 
According to the AG’s office, Orozco was arrested after being charged with three counts of workers comp fraud and one count of engaging in a pattern of criminal offenses. According to charges filed in Payne County District Court, Orozco filed a fraudulent workers comp claim for injuries allegedly sustained while working. (WCxKit)
 

The defendant sought medical treatment
in Tulsa  and Stillwater for two different work-related injuries. After receiving complaints, investigators found probable cause that crimes were committed.
 
 

Khatib was charged
with one count of workers comp fraud. According to the charges filed in Tulsa County District Court, Khatib filed a workers compensation claim  for injuries to her “right fingers, neck, head, knees, brain, left hand, wrist, arm and shoulder” when she tripped over a mat and fell while working. (WCxKit)
 

 The defendant sought medical treatment in Tulsa for work-related injuries. In a deposition, the defendant stated she was not working and hadn’t worked since sustaining her injuries, however, investigators observed Khatib working on multiple occasions.


 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Tulsa Defense Attorney Pleads Guilty in Workers Comp Fraud Case

A longtime Tulsa, Oklahoma criminal defense attorney has pleaded guilty in Tulsa County District Court for his role in helping embezzle more than $1 million from clients, Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office reported.
 
 
Fred Schraeder entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit workers compensation fraud. He received a 5-year deferred sentence and will pay more than $36,000 in restitution, $500 in fines and a $100 victim’s compensation assessment. (WCxKit)
 
 
The Oklahoma Bar Association's Clients Security Fund is also assisting in reimbursing victims. Schraeder must surrender his law license and is not eligible to re-apply while on probation.
 
 
Schraeder’s accomplice, William Anton, received four consecutive sentences totaling 35 years, with 25 years suspended. He was ordered to pay $702,813 in restitution and surrender his law license. (WCxKit)
 
 
The Attorney General’s office filed charges against Schraeder and Anton, alleging they embezzled money from clients personal injury benefits, insurance settlements and workers comp benefits. The defendants purportedly embezzled more than $1 million from 49 identified victims.
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 
 
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Notes NCCI Decrease Cost Request

 

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak, recently reported the company, which manages the nation’s largest database of workers compensation insurance information, has filed a request with the Oklahoma Insurance Department to decrease the cost of workers comp insurance in Oklahoma.
 
 
According to Doak, the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. (NCCI) filed to reduce workers compensation insurance rates in Oklahoma by 1.7 percent starting Jan. 1, 2012. The Commissioner said NCCI attributed the rate drop to this year’s passage of Oklahoma Senate Bill 878. Before the passage of SB 878, rates were expected to increase again. (WCxKit)
 
 
Reforming Oklahoma workers comp law was high on Governor Mary Fallin’s agenda, and SB 878 received overwhelming support from both parties in the Legislature.

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.


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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Oklahoma Workers Comp Bill Emerges Days before Recess

A more than 200-page bill that completely remakes Oklahoma's workers compensation laws came to light May 17 in the Oklahoma House, just three days before lawmakers were expected to adjourn the legislative session.
 
 
According to theAssociated Press, the proposal cleared a House committee, despite concern from some members that lawmakers will have little time to comprehend the massive bill. It was scheduled for a hearing in the Senate on May 18. (WCxKit)
 
 
The issue revolving around workers comp always has proven to be a difficult due to the fact it involves some of the most powerful lobbying influences at the state Capitol — business and industry, trial attorneys and the medical community.
 
 
This year's massive bill was a complete rewrite of the state's Workers Compensation Act and includes more than 80 sections of new law. The House author of the bill, Rep. Dan Sullivan, claims the primary focus of the bill has been to establish medical guidelines for treating injured workers designed to speed up the process by which employees get back on the job. (WCxKit)
 
 
The bill directs the administrator of the Workers Compensation Court to decrease the fee schedule for medical reimbursement rates by 5 percent. It also requires physicians and the court to adhere to a nationally recognized set of treatment guidelines, called the Official Disability Guidelines (ODG), which is projected to dramatically decrease medical expenses.
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.com.

Alliance Protects Mexican Workers in Arkansas and Oklahoma

An alliance signed recently by OSHA and the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock, Ark., strives to enhance workplace safety and health for Mexican workers in Arkansas and Oklahoma.
 
 
 “We welcome this unique opportunity to join with the Mexican Consulate in emphasizing safety and health in high-risk industries,” said William Burke, OSHAs acting regional administrator in Dallas. “The joint resources of this relationship will provide access to education and training to protect their occupational safety and health.” (WCxKit)
 
 
The Mexican Consulate in Little Rock represents and assists Mexican workers in the construction, manufacturing and poultry industries, serving approximately 120 people a day. Under this alliance, consulate personnel will work closely with OSHAs Arkansas and Oklahoma offices to enhance that populations outreach, training and educational goals and communication about safety and health.
 
 
With the signing of this alliance, we seek a closer relationship with the Department of Labor and to strengthen the mechanisms for the protection of labor rights of Mexican citizens in the United States,” said Andres Chao, consul of Mexico in Little Rock. “The main emphasis focuses on ensuring compliance with laws and regulations protecting Mexican workers, as well as raising awareness about them.”
 
 
Through its alliance program, OSHA works with groups committed to worker safety and health to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. These groups include unions, consulates, trade and professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses and educational institutions. (WCxKit)
 
 
OSHA and the groups work together to develop compliance assistance tools and resources, share information and educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.
 
 
 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Terminated Employee TTD Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Reinstated

A law mandating fired employees file workers compensation claims within six months of their termination is unconstitutional, according to an Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling in a case involving cumulative trauma. (WCxKit)
According to BusinessInsurance.com, a trial court in Ponca Iron & Metal Inc. vs. Jackie Wilkinson originally found that Wilkinson was entitled to medical care and up to one year of temporary total disability benefits starting in August 2006,
Wilkinson was fired in December 2005 from a job that included keyboard use and filing work.
A Workers Compensation Court upheld the trial court’s finding, but a Court of Civil Appeals reversed and remanded the case. On remand, the trial court turned down the employer’s argument that a six-month statute of limitations applied to the case.
The trial court stated that the statute of limitations in the law cited by the employer "unreasonably singles out employees who have been terminated and have sustained cumulative trauma injuries.”
The trial court also indicated the law is in direct conflict with a general, two-year statute of limitations for filing cumulative trauma injuries.
Oklahoma’s Legislature enacted the law cited by the employer to curtail fired workers from filing retaliatory workers comp claims, court records state.
In ruling on the case recently, the Oklahoma Supreme Court agreed that the state law is unconstitutional. It stated that “the classification of injured employees on the basis of continued vs. terminated employment is a false and deficient classification of the larger class of injured employees due to the fact it creates preference for members in the continued employment group and results in unequal treatment for certain members of the terminated group.” (WCxKit)
The temporary total disability benefits award was sustained.

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing.
C
ontact:  RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604. 

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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

OKLAHOMA Sale of State Workers Comp Agency Opposed by Attorney General

A plan to sell Oklahoma's workers' compensation insurance agency is opposed Attorney General Drew Edmondson because businesses may then be required to pay higher rates. Edmonson said pending legislation would lead to privatization of CompSource Oklahoma, bad news for businesses and consumers. 

CompSource was formed in 1933 to keep workers' comp prices affordable and competitive. It serves as a last resort for high-risk employers who are unable to afford private insurance.According to Edmondson, if CompSource Oklahoma is acquired by another insurer, prices could increase and new and beginner companies may not be able to afford workers' comp insurance.(workersxzcompxzkit)
 
 
CompSource reportedly writes approximately 35% the state’s workers' comp policies.

 

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers' Compensation costs, including airlines, health care, manufacturing, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He can be contacted at: Robert_Elliott@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.


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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers' comp issues.
 
©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Workers Compensation Oklahoma Employer Found in Willful Violation of Drug and Alcohol Testing Act

ConocoPhillips Found In “Willful” Violation Of Oklahoma’s Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act

A federal district court has found ConocoPhillips in “willful” violation of the Oklahoma Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act (Okla. Stat. tit.40, §§551-565. (the Act).1  A Jury then awarded the employee $583,413.  An additional negotiated amount for attorney’s fees significantly increased that award.

 

Finding the company  in willful violation of the Act, the Court adopted the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s definition of “willful” as used in the Act as “not only conscious, purposeful violation of the Testing Act, but also deliberate disregard of the law by those who know, or should have known, of the requirements of the Testing Act.” 2

 

This is a case that has been in contention for more than four years in both state and federal court.  The employee was fired for failing a breath test.  In state court the company was found in violation of the Act for using a non-licensed test facility.  Here, (workersxzcompxzkit) the issue was the employer’s failure to provide the employee with the required information in its policy.  The policy failed “to include in either its “Alcohol Plan” or its “U.S. Substance Abuse Policy” information about “[t]he available appeal procedures, remedies and sanctions.” Such information was required by Section 555(A)(11) of the Act.

 

The court also concluded  that strict compliance with the requirements of the Act is required.  Quoting a state court decision on the subject, the court said: “. . . this court declines to make the standards less than mandatory by grafting into the Act a wholly foreign concept of substantial compliance.

 

Employers in Oklahoma  would be wise to learn and incorporate the requirements of the Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act. Estes v. ConocoPhillips Case No. 05-CV-445-GKF-PJC (N. Dist. Okla., January 21, 2009)); Judgment entered February 13, 2009. Citing Estes v. ConocoPhillips, Co., 184 P.3rd 518, 527 (Okla. 2008) Author: Atty. Bill Judge

 

Bill Judge is an attorney who, for the past 24 years, has concentrated his practice on research, consultation, and management training related to the legal issues of substance abuse in the workplace and in our nation’s schools. Attorney Judge, JD, LLM can be reached at:708-334-8010.

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©2008 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

 

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