Elyria, Ohio Man Sentenced for Stealing Workers' Comp Benefits

Nathan Smith of Elyria, Ohio was ordered to pay restitution of $6,180, as well as court costs, after pleading guilty to one felonious count of workers' compensation fraud.

"For Ohio to continue providing quality benefits to injured workers while controlling premium costs for employers, inefficiencies, such as fraud must be minimized," said Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) CEO/Administrator James Conrad. "As this case demonstrates, BWC will continue to work aggressively on uncovering and reporting these types of activities to protect the interests of its business partners."

Smith was originally injured while working at an establishment called Tommy's Bar. On Nov. 24, 1999, Smith attempted to slice a garnish while preparing a drink, and instead suffered an open wound on his left index finger. BWC allowed the claim and provided Smith with temporary total disability (TTD) benefits.

However, BWC's special investigations unit (SIU) launched an investigation in Jan. 2001. The automated detection and intelligence (AD&I) unit, an arm of the SIU, conducted a payroll cross-match with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Smith was found to be working with Kelly Services and a bar called Gin Mill. Injured workers who receive TTD benefits are temporarily disabled due to an occupational injury for a brief period of time. TTD benefits are to be terminated when the injured worker is physically able to return to work.

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