Workers' Compensation and Fraud Cases
In a perfect world, you would be able to trust and believe an employee who states that they have been injured on the job. Unfortunately, there are many people out there who are looking to make a quick and illegitimate buck. One of the ways they may try to do this is to lie to their employer and file a workers' comp claim. Here are two recent stories of individuals who lied and tried to defraud their employer and the workers' compensation system.
Cashing a Dead Boyfriend's Workers' Compensation Checks
One of the most recent cases being reported by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation has to do with Suzette Hedrick. Hedrick's boyfriend suffered a legitimate workers' compensation injury that entitled him to benefits. His benefits were loaded on a pre-paid card, making it easy for him to collect his money. However, when he passed away, his girlfriend did not notify the Ohio BWC that he had passed, and instead, started to spend the money off of his card. The theft went on for ten months before it was discovered. Suzette claimed she took the money to pay his bills. However, she admitted that she knew it was wrong and that benefits would have ceased if she notified the BWC of his death. She was convicted of attempted grand theft and ordered to reimburse the Ohio BWC $18,000 or spend up to ten months in jail. She was also sentenced to five years of probation.
Exaggerating Work Injuries to Collect Benefits
The other recent case of fraud that was reported by the Ohio Bureau of Worker's Compensation involved 60-year-old Tim Tokles. Tim claimed to have sustained an eye injury at work that left him unable to see properly and permanently blind. Because of this, he could not perform his usual job duties and was paid workers' compensation. However, investigators found out he was lying when they caught him driving, parking cars and directing traffic at a parking facility that he owned. He pled guilty to misdemeanor theft count and was ordered to pay the BWC back nearly $15,000 in restitution and serve five years of probation.
Claimants are not the only parties who sometimes try to cheat the workers’ compensation system. Providers and employer are also guilty of fraud. Each type of fraud is different but each has the net effect of costing honest employers and workers. We all pay for their dishonesty. The Ohio BWC has an excellent Special Investigations Department dedicated to identifying and preventing fraud of all types. Referrals of suspected fraud can be submitted to them through the Ohio BWC website.
What Employers Can Do
As an employer, your employee's safety should be at the top of your list. However, no matter how safe you try to make the workplace, accidents are bound to happen. If one of your employees claims to have been involved in an accident, but you have doubts about their story or feel they are over exaggerating their injuries, you may need a workers' comp defense attorney. This can help prevent you from paying out more in workers' compensation coverage than you should or prevent you from being taken advantage of like the other businesses in the stories above. A great attorney can help defend you against workers' compensation fraud. Contact Dawson & Associates LLC today to sit down and discuss the workers' comp case in question and find out how we can help you.