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For immediate release: May 11, 2018
Trucker and 10 others convicted in April for cheating BWC
COLUMBUS - An Ohio truck driver who worked for more than two years while collecting disability benefits could be ordered to pay more than $78,000 in restitution at his sentencing for workers' compensation fraud June 14.
Walter Lee, of Frazeysburg in Muskingum County, pleaded guilty to the fifth-degree felony April 25 in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. The judge ordered a pre-sentence investigation due to the large amount of restitution - $78,321 - owed to the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC).
"Our investigators discovered Mr. Lee knowingly returned to work as a truck driver while collecting disability benefits from our agency," said Jim Wernecke, director of BWC's special investigations department. "We're glad he can work again, but he can't tell us he's disabled and collect our benefits while doing it. Those funds are for injured workers who truly need them."
Lee was injured on the job in 2002. BWC's investigation found him working from May 3, 2013 to Oct. 2, 2015 while collecting agency benefits.
Lee's case was one of 11 convictions BWC secured in April along with $515,713 in restitution ordered. Other cases include:
Timothy Manuel, M.D. (Wilmington, Ohio), Drug Trafficking
Manuel, who now lives in Missouri, was indicted last year after an investigation by BWC and the Ohio Board of Pharmacy found that he prescribed large amounts of medically-unnecessary oxycodone to numerous patients while working as a doctor at Hillsboro Urgent Care. He also collected $12,068 from BWC for services he did not perform.
His sentencing is scheduled for May 24 in Highland County Common Pleas Court.
Rodney Alberino (Parma Heights, Ohio), Working and Receiving
Randall Abel (North Canton, Ohio), Working and Receiving
James Harris (Cleveland, Ohio), Working and Receiving
Tina Valley (Akron, Ohio), False Claim
A judge gave Valley a six-month suspended jail sentence and ordered her to perform three days of community service and pay court costs and fines totaling $527.
Thomas Cannell (Northfield, Ohio), Working and Receiving
Cannell was ordered to pay restitution of $684,048 ($479,288 to Social Security and $204,761 to Ohio BWC). A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Vincent Dombrow (Findlay, Ohio), Working and Receiving
Kenneth Gilmore (Cleveland, Ohio), False Claim
Investigators found Gilmore had submitted three false claims of work injuries at Cleveland-area hospitals between December 2013 and June 2014. He admitted to BWC that he filed the claims to obtain narcotics.
Donna Steele (New Lebanon, Ohio), Working and Receiving
Kalyan Ravula, dba United Car Lot (Columbus, Ohio), No Coverage
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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