Ohio BWC Investigations Result In 11 Workers’ Comp Fraud Convictions In June

                               Columbus, OH (CompNewsNetwork) - Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Stephen Buehrer today announced 11 individuals were convicted of or pleaded guilty to charges related to defrauding Ohio's workers' compensation system during the month of June. The court actions are the result of investigations conducted by BWC's Special Investigations Department (SID), which works to deter, detect, investigate, and prosecute workers' compensation fraud.

“Our Special Investigations Department continues to do an outstanding job of catching up to these fraudsters and holding them accountable for their actions,” said Buehrer. “Our hope is that by highlighting these actions in the media and through our newly launched Special Investigations Facebook page, we can deter those who would defraud Ohio's injured workers and businesses.”

Earlier this week, BWC launched a Special Investigations Facebook page that can be found at www.facebook.com/ohiobwcfraud. It includes news on recent investigatory action, a most-wanted section and a link to report fraud.

Following is a sampling of cases that resulted in a guilty plea or conviction during the month of June.

Sharlyn Adams (Cincinnati, Hamilton County) pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of workers' compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. Investigators found that Adams had returned to work while receiving Temporary Total Disability benefits for performing the same type of work she was performing at the time of her industrial injury. While collecting disability, Adams was working for the Catholic Residential Services Nursing Home. Adams was sentenced to 180 days in jail suspended and she was placed on probation for five years. She was also ordered to pay restitution of $3,661.29 and an additional $1,000 for investigative costs.

John Bou-Sliman (Port Clinton, Ottawa County) pleaded guilty to one count of workers' compensation fraud for failing to make premium payments and maintain coverage for his restaurant business, The Jolly Roger. His workers' compensation policy lapsed in September 2007 after his premium check bounced. Bou-Sliman was informed of his lapsed status and when agents later served him with a second notice, he assured them he would take the necessary steps to make the payment and have his policy reinstated. He failed to make any new payments within the allocated time frame and the policy remained lapsed. On June 14, 2011, Bou-Sliman pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal. Sentencing has been scheduled for August 8, 2011.

William Burchfield (Lancaster, Fairfield County) was sentenced for workers' compensation fraud for operating without coverage. Burchfield, owner of Elite Sewer and Septic, allowed his policy to lapse in 2007 and failed to have it reinstated even after attempts by BWC agents to assist him in returning to compliance. A judge found Burchfield guilty on June 27 and ordered him to pay restitution to BWC in the amount of $300 per month beginning July 28. The judge also ordered five years probation, a suspended jail sentence of 90 days, and ordered him to pay $100 in fines and $95 in court costs.

James Goloversic (Cincinnati, Hamilton County) pleaded guilty to workers' compensation fraud and two counts of deception to obtain a dangerous drug for using multiple doctors and multiple pharmacies to obtain narcotics. An investigation found Goloversic was obtaining prescriptions from physicians who were not aware he was seeking narcotics from other physicians. Goloversic utilized multiple pharmacies in order to conceal his deception. Goloversic was sentenced June 28 to three years of community control and ordered to pay court costs. The court further ordered that Goloversic must consult only his treating physician if he wishes to seek any narcotic for pain. If he violates the conditions of his community control, he will serve three and a half years in prison.

James Hale (Kenton, Hardin County), owner of Jimmy's Pizza, was sentenced for operating his business without a workers' compensation policy. Hale failed to obtain a policy even after BWC agents advised him of his obligation to do so. On June 2, 2011, Hale pleaded guilty to one count of failure to comply, a second degree misdemeanor. He was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,980.67, in addition to a $200 fine. Hale was also sentenced to 90 days jail suspended, one year probation, and was ordered to remain in compliance with all BWC laws and regulations.

April Hupp (Norwalk, Huron County) pleaded guilty to one count of workers' compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. SID received an allegation from an employer who received an anonymous tip that Hupp was operating a cleaning business and was babysitting. Investigators found Hupp was employed as a house cleaner and babysitter while receiving Temporary Total Disability benefits. She was ordered to pay restitution of $5,973.51, sentenced to 11 months in prison, suspended, and placed on three years of probation. She was also ordered to obtain employment and perform 40 hours of community service.

Bradford Pirigyi (Warren, Trumbull County) pleaded guilty to four counts of deception to obtain dangerous drugs, all felonies of the fifth degree. SID opened an investigation when Pirigyi filed a claim against an employer BWC was not able to locate and BWC received a request from a doctor for approval to conduct an MRI for an injury unrelated to a Pirigyi's allowed claim. The doctor's office indicated Pirigyi advised them that his claim was for a separate injury he sustained while employed with a construction company. Investigators found Pirigyi sought treatment at several different hospitals and doctor's offices, and attempted to file workers' compensation claims against businesses that did not exist in order to obtain prescription narcotics. Pirigyi asked for narcotic pain medication during some of the visits. Each claim and the bills related to those claims were denied by the BWC. Sentencing is not yet scheduled.

Jeffrey D. Volz (Buckeye Lake, Licking County) entered a guilty plea to one count of workers' compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. SID opened an investigation into Volz after receiving an allegation from TS Tech, Inc. that Volz was working while receiving Temporary Total Disability benefits. An investigation confirmed that Volz was employed by Teleperformance, Acloche and Work Force Network and knowingly concealed his return to work so that he would continue to receive those benefits. Volz appeared in court with a certified check in the amount of $5,623.98 to cover restitution. The judge sentenced Volz to a term of three months of suspended incarceration and he must pay $700 for investigative costs. The incarceration sentence will be imposed if does not pay within six months. 

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