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For immediate release: Oct. 20, 2017
Toledo woman convicted for taking late boyfriend's work comp benefits
COLUMBUS - A Toledo woman who cashed her late boyfriend's work comp benefits for more than a year after his death must reimburse the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation more than $18,000 or serve 10 months in prison, a Lucas County judge ruled Oct. 5.
The judge ordered Suzette Hedrick, 58, to reimburse BWC $18,576 and serve five years of probation after she pleaded guilty to attempted grand theft, a fifth-degree felony.
"Our investigation found that Ms. Hedrick deliberately withheld from BWC that her boyfriend had died, which enabled her to illicitly use his electronic benefits card for personal gain," said Jim Wernecke, director of BWC's special investigations department (SID). "We understand the financial hardship some people experience following the loss of a loved one, but that doesn't diminish the seriousness of this crime."
An internal claims specialist discovered last year that Hedrick's boyfriend, who was on permanent total disability, had passed away on Oct. 3, 2015, but someone was still withdrawing his monthly benefits. The agency stopped paying benefits immediately. Hedrick admitted to agents that she used the card to pay her bills, and she accepted responsibility.
In other news:
To report suspected workers' compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov.
Melissa Vince, 614-466-2956 or 614-202-2329, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony Gottschlich, 614-644-4940 or 614-296-1734, email@example.com
Established in 1912, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation provides workers' compensation insurance to 244,000 public and private Ohio employers. With nearly 1,900 employees and assets of approximately $27 billion, BWC is the largest state-run insurance system in the United States. Our mission is to protect Ohio's workers and employers through the prevention, care and management of workplace injuries and illnesses at fair rates. For more, visit www.bwc.ohio.gov.
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