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For immediate release: March 18, 2016
Undercover video proves Painesville handyman's workers' comp fraud
Columbus - A Painesville (Lake County) business owner was sentenced March 18 for workers' compensation fraud and ordered to repay the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) more than $74,000. Investigators with the agency's Special Investigations Department (SID) conducted surveillance and captured this video showing Mark Walker working as a handyman.
"The purpose of temporary total disability is to give injured workers time to recuperate, and work activity during that recovery period is prohibited," said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. "Mr. Walker deceptively returned to employment for several years and continued to collect thousands of dollars from BWC."
Walker was receiving temporary total disability, a benefit that compensates an injured worker who is totally disabled from work for a short period of time due to the work related injury or occupational disease. He was not supposed to be working while recovering from his injury; however, SID opened an investigation into Walker after receiving an allegation from an anonymous source that he was running his business called Mark’s Handyman Service. The investigation confirmed that Walker worked for nearly five years in conflict with the workplace injury benefits.
The Industrial Commission of Ohio issued an order finding an overpayment of $74,954.16 and issued a finding of fraud in June 2014. Walker later entered a guilty plea to one felony count of workers' compensation fraud on December 17, 2015, in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.
Walker was sentenced March 18 to 12 months incarceration, which was suspended for three years of community control. As a condition of community control, Walker was ordered to repay $37,000 to the BWC, including $34,000 in restitution and $3,000 for investigative costs.
To report suspected workers' compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov.
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