Man Pleads Guilty to Workers' Compensation Fraud in Ohio

May 21, 2003
Rocky Stone, of Vermillion, Ohio, pled guilty to one felonious count of workers' compensation fraud and agreed to make restitution in the amount of $28,565. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 12.

"It is imperative that Ohioans continue to work together to prevent workers' compensation fraud," said James Conrad, administrator/CEO of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC). "Fraudulent claims severely impact Ohio's economy, and injured workers, employers and medical providers must work together to show that workers' comp fraud will not be tolerated."

While working for General Highway Express, Stone suffered a back injury on May 10, 1983. He filed a claim for lumbar disc displacement and bilateral lower leg injuries. BWC allowed the claim, first awarding temporary total disabilities then changing the award to permanent total disability (PTD) benefits in September 1990.

However, BWC's special investigations unit (SIU) launched an investigation on May 18, 1998. The SIU's automated detection and intelligence department conducted a crossmatch query with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and Stone's name appeared on payroll reports for Great Lakes Construction while still receiving PTD benefits from BWC.

While working to verify Stone's employment with Great Lakes, BWC dispatched SIU agents to conduct surveillance of Stone. The agents followed Stone to a work site, and photographed him loading equipment and putting up vinyl siding.

An SIU agent approached Stone and inquired about siding a house. Stone presented the agent with a business card for A&S Construction and instructed the agent to call the number for references and to setup an appointment. The agent called and verified A&S Construction was in business, and Stone was also identified as a partner in the company.

Through additional surveillance and bank record analysis, BWC determined Stone was working for Great Lakes Construction since March 1997 while also working for A&S Construction. Stone was indicted on Dec. 13, 2002.

Injured workers who receive PTD benefits are permanently disabled due to an occupational injury. PTD benefits are to be terminated when the injured worker is physically able to return to work.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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