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For immediate release: May 28, 2015

Toledo business owners, employee plead guilty to workers' comp fraud

Columbus - Three people pleaded guilty recently in the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas in connection with lapsed workers' compensation coverage, dishonored payments and altering an Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation coverage certificate.

Wyse Enterprise Inc. co-owner Tim Wyse, of Toledo (Lucas County), pleaded guilty April 27 to two counts of workers' compensation fraud, both fifth-degree felonies. Co-owner Felicia Braggs-Wyse, of Toledo (Lucas County), pleaded guilty the same day to passing bad checks, a first-degree misdemeanor. Business secretary Sarah Washtak, of Maumee (Lucas County), pleaded guilty May 11 to workers' compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor.

"Claimants are often associated with workers' compensation fraud, but employer and medical provider fraud exist, too," said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. "All types of workers' compensation fraud are equally unacceptable and must be addressed to ensure that employer premiums remain as low as possible and injured workers receive the care they deserve."

BWC fraud investigators received two allegations about Wyse Enterprise Inc. The collections department reported that a check written for a premium payment was returned for non-sufficient funds, which caused the employer's policy to lapse. Agents provided Wyse with instructions on how to reinstate the company's workers' compensation policy, but Wyse failed to take steps toward becoming compliant. An allegation that the employer passed a false BWC certificate of coverage was also received. Braggs-Wyse told investigators she generated the dishonored check, and Washtak admitted to falsifying and providing the workers' compensation coverage certificate to show that her employer had coverage.

Wyse was ordered to pay $13,277.59 in restitution and sentenced to three years of community control. Braggs-Wyse was ordered to pay $13,277.59 in restitution and is scheduled for sentencing on June 18. Washtak was not ordered to pay restitution and is scheduled for sentencing on June 25.

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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