An Ohio Carpenter Convicted of Workers' Compensation Fraud
Workers' compensation is extremely important for businesses. If an employee is injured on the job, workers' compensation insurance pays for the injured worker's medical expenses, lost wages and any permanent disabilities that an employee may have. While the majority of individuals who file a workers' compensation claim follow all of the laws and rules in regards to these claims, there are always a couple of people who try to take advantage of the system. Unfortunately, this is the tale of one such individual.
What Fraud Occurred
Ernest Shawn Baker, living in Pomeroy, Ohio, was injured while working as a carpenter. It was discovered that soon after he filed a claim, he went back to work as a carpenter, working with up to a dozen different employers. However, during this same period, he was receiving workers' compensation payments because he was allegedly unable to return to work due to his injuries. When you are collecting disability payments from workers' compensation, it is made very clear that you are unable to be work during this time and if you do work, you must report the employment to the insurance company. As such, since he was collecting disability payments and working at the same time, investigators had a clear-cut case of fraud and could prove that Mr. Baker was defrauding the insurance company by stating that he could not work when he could and was still collecting the disability payments.
Investigators ended up charging Mr. Baker with a fifth-degree felony count of workers' comp fraud in Franklin County, Ohio. Mr. Baker decided to plead guilty to the charges against him. As part of the plea deal, he was ordered to reimburse $23,000 in compensation that he improperly collected. He must also serve five years of community control. Community control is a form of supervised release, meaning he must follow all of the rules and conditions of his release or he could be sentenced to the full five-year term in prison. The judge did give him one small break, conceding that his release terms and probation could be ended early if he pays his entire restitution payments in full.
The majority of individuals who file workers' compensation claims do so because they genuinely were injured on the job and they follow all of the rules and laws in regard to their claims. But unfortunately, not everyone does. If you have an employee who has filed a claim against your company's workers' compensation insurance policy and you question its validity or whether they are possibly committing fraud, let Dawson & Associates LLC help you. Contact us today and let us help you achieve the best solution possible.