Sentencing of Former Workers' Comp Manager Closes 'Sad Chapter' in Bureau's History

A former claims manager for the West Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission has been fined $2,500 and sentenced to 2 years' probation after being convicted of scheming to refer injured workers to a Pennsylvania rehabilitation company.

Denise Miller, who was terminated from the commission last August as part of an ongoing criminal investigation, pleaded guilty in December to a misdemeanor charge of accepting an unlawful reward for past behavior.

Miller made referrals of injured workers "in exchange for payments of either $50 or $75 per claim, depending on the value of the claim," according to an affidavit for the criminal complaint against Miller. Before working for the West Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission, Miller had been employed by the Pennsylvania company to which she was referring workers, according to commission spokesperson Andrew Wessels.

The malfeasance occurred around June 2002, according to the West Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission.

"This closes a sad chapter in our history," said Gregory Burton, executive director of the commission. "But I hope it's crystal clear that we will hold our own employees to the high standards we expect of others."

Wal-Mart Worker Accused of Faking Fall

A Wal-Mart employee in West Virginia accused of staging a fall in May 2004 has been arraigned on two felony charges and a misdemeanor charge. Brenda Curtis, 44, allegedly was working at a cash register at a Wal-Mart store when she faked the fall.

Curtis faces felony charges of attempting to receive workers' compensation benefits to which she was not entitled and of filing false documents. A grand jury also indicted Curtis on a misdemeanor charge of making false statements.

Curtis could face up to 10 years in prison, or 1 year in a regional jail plus a $2,500 fine, on each of the felony county.

A pre-trial conference is scheduled for April 15.

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