Tattoos have been around for a long time and don’t seem to be diminishing in popularity. Seen by many as a unique art form, tattoo parlors are abundant and ready to ink a favorite image on a designated body part of your choosing. In a story reported on WFMJ.com, a former Columbiana man decided to start up a small tattoo parlor – which is admirable during trying economic times – but unfortunately, he was still collecting disability benefits for a workplace injury, while running the lucrative business in another state.
The story details that the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Special Investigations Department received a tip from the fraud hotline that the business owner was engaging in physical activity that was contradictory to his complaints to doctors regarding his workers’ compensation claim. (Evidently, he wasn’t supposed to be doing tedious work with a very small, sharp instrument.) The warning led investigators to search social media sites, conduct undercover operations and obtain bank records that showed the fraudster owned and operated a tattoo shop near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The investigation determined that the man collected disability benefits, while managing the business and marketing operations and tattooing a few customers on the side.
The fraudster pleaded guilty to one count of workers’ compensation fraud and one count of theft. He was ordered to pay back more than $4,500 to the Ohio Industrial Commission and a $100 fine.
With age, tattoos can lose their appeal. What seemed like a good idea at the time can turn into regret. Lucky for the inked, most tattoos can be removed or covered by a new one. But, with fraud, such as this case, a criminal record is permanent and it will stay with him for the rest of his life.