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For immediate release: March 23, 2018
Day care owner guilty of work comp fraud
COLUMBUS - A Columbus day care owner and nursing assistant pleaded guilty Tuesday to a fifth-degree felony count of workers' compensation fraud after her former employer reported her to the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) for the crime.
Sharrounda Fuller, 42, must pay $11,514 in restitution to her former employer, a home health care company, and serve five years of probation, according to her sentence in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.
"The employer is self-insured, so it was paying Ms. Fuller's benefits out-of-pocket when it learned she had opened a day care center out of her home" said Jim Wernecke, director of BWC's special investigations department. "After the company asked for our assistance in pursuing criminal charges, we discovered she also had worked for three other home health care businesses while collecting disability benefits."
Wernecke said that while self-insured companies manage their own workers' compensation programs, BWC will investigate alleged fraud cases on their behalf, because "workers' comp fraud impacts all of us."
"Workers' comp benefits are for people who legitimately can't work because they were injured on the job," he said. "When people cheat the system, it just drives up the costs for all the honest stakeholders in the system."
Click here for a photo of Fuller.
In other news, a northwest Ohio man who remodeled bathrooms, convenience stores and performed other construction work while collecting BWC benefits was found guilty Wednesday of a first-degree misdemeanor count of workers' compensation fraud.
A Franklin County judge ordered Scott J. Jones of Perrysburg to pay BWC $3,957 in restitution by Oct. 30 this year or face 45 days in jail. Jones paid $1,000 toward the restitution Wednesday morning.
A Franklin County judge on Nov. 22 ordered Timothy S. Lumsden, 50, of Avon Lake, to pay BWC $5,385 in restitution. He also sentenced Lumsden to 11 months in jail (suspended) and community control for three years.
Click here for a photo of Jones.
To report suspected workers' compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit www.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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