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For immediate release: January 15, 2015
BWC investigations result in four workers' comp fraud convictions in December
Columbus - Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer announced today that four individuals were convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, charges related to defrauding Ohio's workers' compensation system in December 2014. These court actions are the result of investigations conducted by BWC's Special Investigations Department (SID).
"Workers' compensation fraud has a ripple effect on all employers that pay into the State Insurance Fund," Buehrer said. "We've made holding employers, medical providers and injured workers who cheat the system accountable a priority and will continue to do so in 2015 in order to keep employer premiums in Ohio as low as possible."
The following is a sampling of cases that resulted in guilty pleas or convictions during December:
Keith Hullinger (Canton, Stark County) pleaded guilty and was sentenced Dec. 2 in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on one count of workers' compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. BWC received an allegation that Hullinger was working while receiving temporary total disability benefits from BWC. Injured workers are not permitted to work while receiving this type of benefit. Investigators found that Hullinger worked as a dump truck driver while receiving disability benefits he was not entitled to receive. He was ordered to pay $2,248.55 in restitution to BWC and sentenced to one year of community control.
Jerry Jennings (Glenford, Perry County) pleaded guilty and was sentenced Dec. 3 in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on one count of workers' compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. BWC received an allegation that Jennings was receiving cash for working while collecting permanent total disability benefits. Investigators confirmed the allegation by interviewing witnesses, reviewing bank records and conducting surveillance. The evidence was presented to his treating physicians for review. Both of them indicated that Jennings deceived them and is capable of working. He was sentenced to six months of incarceration, which was suspended for four years of community control. A condition of his community control is that he must pay $4,726.22 in restitution to BWC.
Dean Moffo (Austintown, Mahoning County) was sentenced Dec. 9 in Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas after pleading guilty in September 2014 to one count of workers' compensation fraud, one count of theft and one count of tampering with records, all first-degree misdemeanors. BWC received an allegation that Moffo was working while receiving temporary total disability benefits. Injured workers are not permitted to work while receiving this type of benefit. Investigators conducted interviews and analyzed financial records, and found that Moffo returned to work as a self-employed mechanic while receiving benefits. He was sentenced to two years of community control and ordered to pay a total of $11,000 in restitution to BWC along with court costs of $330. If Moffo violates any condition of his probation, he is subject to either six months of incarceration, or 40 hours per week of community service until he has satisfied his debt.
To report suspected workers' compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov. Check out our latest cases at ohiobwcfraud.wordpress.com, follow Fraud Fridays on Twitter @OhioBWCFraud, or join in the conversation at facebook.com/ohiobwcfraud. View and share BWC's workers' comp fraud awareness video on our YouTube channel.
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