Lucas county resident sentenced for worker’s compensation fraudWritten by Lisa Renee Ward | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation (BWC) has released information concerning a court case involving a Toledo-area resident who was sentenced for worker’s compensation fraud.
According to the release, Timothy Williams Jr. pleaded guilty to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony, Jan. 3 in a Franklin County courtroom following an investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Special Investigations Division (SID) that revealed he misrepresented himself as a full-time college student in order to continue collecting dependent death benefits.
A BWC customer service representative made an internal referral in 2009, requesting an investigation after noticing inconsistencies in the information that was provided by Williams in seeking continued dependent death benefits. Dependent children who lose a parent due to a workplace accident can receive dependent death benefits, until they reach the age of 25 if they are enrolled in college and provide proof of full-time enrollment.
“This investigation began when an astute BWC employee scrutinized Williams’ paperwork after becoming concerned with several inconsistencies,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer in the release. “Because we constantly encounter creative attempts to cheat the system, we are both thorough and cautious in our review of requests for benefits so that we recognize the signs of potential fraud, while providing appropriate assistance to those who are eligible as quickly as possible.”
After the investigative arm of BWC reviewed Williams’ records they discovered that he was not a full time student as he had claimed, he was enrolling in classes to appear to have full time status but was dropping classes and was only attending as a part time student. Williams admitted that he was enrolling as a full time student to be able to continue receiving the dependent death benefits.
BWC stated that Timothy Williams was sentenced to a suspended sentence of eight months incarceration, placed on community control for four years and ordered to pay restitution of $9,295 and $500 investigative costs. Williams was ordered to return to school, continue full-time employment and undergo random drug and alcohol tests as a part of his sentence conditions. If he fails to meet those conditions, he would have to serve 350 hours of community service.
Melissa Vince, public information officer for BWC, told Toledo Free Press for the current fiscal year of 2011, which started in July, SID closed 1,500 cases referred for investigation, recommended 142 for prosecution and had obtained 61 convictions. SID identified more than $66 million in workers’ compensation fraud and 240 individuals were convicted of worker’s compensation fraud in fiscal year 2010.
BWC’s annual report states that, “For every dollar spent by the special investigations department, it identified $6.30 in fraud.”
If you suspect workers’ compensation fraud, you are asked to visit ohiobwc.com, or call 1-800-OHIOBWC.