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For immediate release: June 22, 2012

Millersburg man pleads guilty to theft after his workers' comp scam is uncovered

COLUMBUS - Robert T. Howland of Millersburg (Holmes County) must repay the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) more than $5,000 after he was discovered working while receiving benefits for a workplace injury. Howland pleaded guilty to one count of theft last week for collecting Living Maintenance benefits while employed by the Robinson Country Inn/Hotel.

"BWC offers a number of services that aid injured workers while they heal and recover to a point that they can return to work," said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. "Ohio employers should not have to cover the additional costs associated with claims filed by workers like Mr. Howland, who hide their return to work in order to extend their benefits period."

BWC's Special Investigation Department received an allegation from a BWC claims service specialist that Howland may be working for the Robinson Country Inn/Hotel in Millersburg while receiving Living Maintenance benefits. These payments are available to an injured worker instead of Temporary Total Disability while he or she is actively involved in an approved rehabilitation program. The claims service specialist submitted the tip after reviewing a paystub submitted by Howland and suspecting he may be receiving wages from the hotel.

The investigation confirmed that Howland did work for the hotel performing kitchen duties in conflict with his collection of benefits.

Howland appeared in a Franklin County courtroom June 12 and was ordered to pay restitution of $5,928.43. He was also sentenced to 90 days of incarceration suspended for 60 months of community control.

A photo of Howland is available here.

To report suspected workers' compensation fraud, call 1-800-OHIOBWC, visit ohiobwc.com, or visit www.facebook.com/ohiobwcfraud.

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