In 2017, the efforts of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation special investigations department (SID) resulted in 121 convictions. The success of these efforts brings down costs and assures benefits are distributed to legitimate claims. Here are the stories of the most recent convictions.
This Chardon, Ohio resident pled guilty to workers’ compensation fraud on Nov. 8, 2017. He was discovered when an anonymous tip indicated that Cigany was working as a handyman and carpenter while allegedly suffering disability.
Between March and September 2014, Cigancy received benefits of $8,499. He repaid the full amount in restitution, and a Franklin County judge imposed a fine but waived all court costs.
This was another case of working while receiving benefits. Dinkins was discovered during a cross match with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services where it was revealed she was working as a home health worker.
Dinkins pled guilty to a misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud on Nov. 2, 2017 and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. The jail sentence was suspended, but she was ordered to pay restitution of $3,716.
Workers’ compensation fraud may rise to felony level in some instances. That is what happened in the compelling story of Christopher Gattarello.
The SID started an investigation when claims representatives called Gattarello and always heard construction noises in the background. He was allegedly on temporary disability for injuries incurred on the job.
The investigation revealed that Gattarello returned to work as a heavy equipment operator. His fraudulent behavior started in March 2015 after he was convicted of federal charges. While the owner of a garbage company, he ordered the 2012 demolition of an asbestos-laden structure and released toxins into the air. He served prison time for violating the Clean Air Act and defrauding a Louisiana company of $1.2 million.
Workers’ compensation fraud was light compared to his previous charges. A Franklin County judge sentenced Gattarello to 186 days in jail after he pled guilty to a fifth-degree felony of workers’ compensation fraud. He was credited for time served in the federal convictions.
This was another case of working while collecting workers’ compensation benefits. Like the Gattarello case, Timothy Lumsden also pled guilty to fifth-degree felony workers’ compensation fraud.
A tip provided in 2015 suggested that Lumsden was working as an independent carpenter while allegedly on temporary disability. This was confirmed, and Lumsden entered a guilty plea on Nov. 22. The judge sentenced him to 11 months in jail and community control for three years. Restitution was also ordered in the amount of $5,385. The jail sentence was suspended.
Unlike the other cases, Harvey Short was an employer. He was convicted of a second-degree misdemeanor count of failure to comply after he falsified his workers’ compensation certificate of coverage. The SID received a tip when a company that received the false certificate noticed it showed a different carrier than the year before. Short-faced charges in the Garfield Heights Municipal Court and was ordered to pay restitution of $150 and all court fees.
Dawson & Associates, LLC focuses on the rights of employers and helps you comply with administrative requirements. Contact our office today if your business requires assistance with an employee’s workers’ compensation claim, an accusation of discrimination, and other employment-related matters.