OH BWC Investigator Allegedly Violated BWC Policy For Personal Reasons

Columbus, OH (CompNewsNetwork) - On May 22, 2009, the Deputy Inspector General for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation ("BWC") and Industrial Commission was informed of wrongdoing by a BWC fraud investigator. Thomas Wersell, Director of the Special Investigations Department ("SID"), reported that Fraud Investigator Tonya Claborn accessed confidential information systems available to SID employees to look up information about the other vehicles and drivers with whom Claborn was involved in an off-duty auto accident. Claborn told coworkers that the "at fault" driver in her crash provided afictitious name and address at the scene, but that she captured his license plate number. Claborn also told coworkers that she had a friend at the Ohio Department of Public Safety ("DPS") look up a license plate number for her so that she could determine the identity of one of the drivers.

Our investigation determined that Claborn contacted a DPS employee and requested that this employee provide any information regarding vehicles allegedly involved in Claborn's accident. However, no query of any database was conducted by the DPS employee. We found that Claborn, using her state computer, accessed two confidential information systems that are licensed for use by BWC SID for law enforcement purposes only. By accessing these systems, Claborn obtained the name, vehicle identification number, driver's license number, and Social Security number of one of the drivers purportedly involved in the collision. She also conducted further research in the information systems using these data elements.

This is not the first time that Claborn has violated policy – she was disciplined in 2004 for looking up credit bureau records on her relatives. Claborn was less than truthful when asked by her supervisor if she used BWC resources for personal reasons, and she was deceptive when the BWC interviewed her.

Claborn, as a fraud investigator, is entrusted with access to confidential information that is intended to be used in the furtherance of workers' compensation fraud investigations. She violated that trust by accessing this information for personal reasons. Claborn compounded the breach of trust by lying to her supervisor and to investigators during this investigation.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation is referring this investigation to the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office and the Columbus City Attorney's Office. They also made one recommendation to the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation and requested that they respond to our office within the next sixty days.

Attached to the article is a more detailed account of the investigation.
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