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For immediate release: June 17, 2016
BWC workers' comp fraud investigations result in five convictions in May
Columbus - Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison announced today that five individuals were convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, charges related to defrauding Ohio's workers' compensation system in May 2016. These court actions are the result of investigations conducted by BWC's Special Investigations Department (SID).
"It is disappointing when anyone attempts to exploit the system designed to protect those hurt on the job," said Morrison. "However, we are pleased with the work of our team of investigators to track down and put an end to fraud."
Cases that resulted in guilty pleas or convictions during May include:
Darlean McCurdy (Hamilton County) - McCurdy pleaded guilty May 10 to one count of workers' compensation fraud after investigators photographed her using a deceased BWC claimant's EBT card to withdraw cash from several ATMs.
A Hamilton County common pleas court judge on May 24 ordered McCurdy to perform 100 hours of community service, serve five-years' probation and repay the BWC $7,321.16, plus $2,265 in investigative costs. She was also sentenced to a year in prison but only if she violates her parole.
Jennifer Martin (Morrow County) - Martin filed for BWC benefits after claiming to police someone at work poisoned her by putting bug spray in her beverage. A police investigation found her claim to be false.
Martin pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of workers' compensation fraud May 10 in Mason Municipal Court. A judge sentenced her to one year probation and ordered her to repay the BWC $2,143.50 for its investigation and pay court costs of $420. The judge also sentenced her to 180 days in jail, which he then suspended.
James Calvey (Cuyahoga County) - Calvey pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of workers' compensation fraud May 17 after investigators filmed him working as a tow truck driver while receiving Temporary Total Disability Benefits from BWC. A Franklin County common pleas judge sentenced Calvey to 10 days in jail, to be served in August, and fined him $100.
Carol Hoover (Pike County) - Hoover pleaded guilty May 10 in Clark County Common Pleas Court to one count of deception to obtain a dangerous drug, a felony of the fifth degree. She was sentenced June 1 to two years of community control and fined $1,000.
BWC investigators became suspicious after reviewing records indicating Hoover received narcotic prescriptions with overlapping fill dates from two different physicians. When interviewed, the physicians said they felt deceived and would not have prescribed the narcotics had they been aware of the other prescribing physician.
Spiro Frangos (Mahoning County) - Frangos pleaded guilty to one count of workers' compensation fraud, a fifth degree felony, on May 9, after investigators found him working as a laborer while receiving BWC benefits. A Franklin County common pleas judge sentenced Frangos to two years of community control.
To report suspected workers' compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov.
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