Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Stephen Buehrer todays announced 11 individuals were convicted of or pleaded guilty to charges related to defrauding Ohio’s workers’ compensation system during the month of June. The court actions are the result of investigations conducted by BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID), which works to deter, detect, investigate, and prosecute workers’ compensation fraud.
“Our hope is that by highlighting these actions in the media and through our newly launched Special Investigations Facebook page, we can deter those who would defraud Ohio’s injured workers and businesses.”
How about a few examples?
John Bou-Sliman (Port Clinton, Ottawa County) pleaded guilty to one count of workers’ compensation fraud for failing to make premium payments and maintain coverage for his restaurant business, The Jolly Roger. His workers’ compensation policy lapsed in September 2007 after his premium check bounced. Bou-Sliman was informed of his lapsed status and when agents later served him with a second notice, he assured them he would take the necessary steps to make the payment and have his policy reinstated. He failed to make any new payments within the allocated time frame and the policy remained lapsed. On June 14, 2011, Bou-Sliman pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal. Sentencing has been scheduled for August 8, 2011.
lliam Burchfield (Lancaster, Fairfield County) was sentenced for workers’ compensation fraud for operating without coverage. Burchfield, owner of Elite Sewer and Septic, allowed his policy to lapse in 2007 and failed to have it reinstated even after attempts by BWC agents to assist him in returning to compliance. A judge found Burchfield guilty on June 27 and ordered him to pay restitution to BWC in the amount of $300 per month beginning July 28. The judge also ordered five years probation, a suspended jail sentence of 90 days, and ordered him to pay $100 in fines and $95 in court costs.
James Hale (Kenton, Hardin County), owner of Jimmy’s Pizza, was sentenced for operating his business without a workers’ compensation policy. Hale failed to obtain a policy even after BWC agents advised him of his obligation to do so. On June 2, 2011, Hale pleaded guilty to one count of failure to comply, a second degree misdemeanor. He was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,980.67, in addition to a $200 fine. Hale was also sentenced to 90 days jail suspended, one year probation.