Do you remember saving money as a child? You might get a little money here and there for a birthday or celebratory occasion, and it would often be followed by an adult saying, “Now, you put that in the bank and save it.” Putting that money in the bank made it safe – it made it all yours. But, what happens when you put too much in the bank? Think it can’t happen? Keep reading to learn, as a MyDailySentinel.com article illustrates, how a fraudster “putting it in the bank” can leave a trail leading right back to their fraud.
An Ohio man pleaded guilty last year to a charge of workers’ compensation fraud as a fifth degree felony. The owner of a heating and cooling company, he claimed Temporary Total Disability, collecting benefits as he continued to work. The Administrator/CEO of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) explained: “[He] was free to continue ownership of his business, but actually doing the work of an HVAC technician was prohibited and calls into question whether he needed these benefits in the first place.” (Calls into question? I think it answers the question!) In Ohio, Temporary Total Disability is typically the first type of compensation awarded to an individual recovering from a work-related injury.
BWC’s Special Investigation Division (SID) launched an investigation after receiving an allegation of the fraudster’s questionable work habits. After reviewing his bank account, officials discovered multiple customers who claimed that they had hired and paid him, explaining that he did the work himself. (And, I am sure he was thinking, “How would they know I am receiving disability benefits under workers’ compensation?”) The judge found him guilty, sentencing him to 9 months in prison and three years of community control (a.k.a. probation). He also is responsible for paying restitution in the amount of $29,415.72, in addition to court costs.
Sometimes, you just can’t stop the working man – even if he is collecting workers’ compensation disability benefits that prohibit him from working. Regardless, he learned a little lesson – the bank may keep his money safe, but not his secrets.