Columbus, Ohio Man Admits Guilt in Workers' Comp Fraud

A Columbus, Ohio man pled guilty on March 12 to one fifth-degree felony charge of workers' compensation fraud for working while collecting temporary total disability (TTD) benefits.

Vincent Wilson was sentenced to nine months incarceration and ordered to pay $10,359.17 in restitution. The jail sentence was suspended in lieu of five years community control.

Wilson was initially injured while working for the House of Hope. He suffered a lower back strain while breaking up a fight between two youths. The injury was aggravated a few days later in an auto accident. BWC allowed the claim and awarded him TTD benefits.

However, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) special investigations unit (SIU) received a tip from its automated detection and intelligence (AD&I) department. The AD&I conducted an employer cross-match with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which turned up Wilson's name on a payroll report in March 2000.

An investigation was initiated, and Wilson was found to be working for Heritage Health Care, Patient Care Medical Services and Select Specialty Hospital. Injured workers who receive TTD benefits are temporarily disabled due to an occupational injury for a period of time. TTD benefits are to be terminated when the injured worker is physically able to return to work.

"The state of Ohio will not be held captive by those who commit workers' compensation fraud," said James Conrad, BWC CEO/administrator. "BWC will work with its business partners to ensure fraud is reported, and not only will fraudulent offenders be tracked down and brought to justice, the punishment will be severe."

Wilson was indicted on July 18, 2002, in a Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

In fiscal year 2002, BWC's special investigations unit uncovered $98.8 million in savings from fraudulent activity. They referred 312 subjects for criminal prosecution.

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