Fraud in Absentia

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The justice system does not look fondly upon individuals who skip their court date. But in the case of today’s fraudster, he had a reasonable excuse as to why he was in Absentia. (He was already serving time in prison for an unrelated crime and couldn’t make it.)

The Cincinnati man, who was already behind bars at an Indiana prison for burglary, missed a very important appointment related to charges that he committed workers’ compensation fraud. (Investigators later discovered that the man was serving nearly a six-year sentence for a prior fourth-degree burglary conviction.)

It turns out that the 47-year-old inmate collected $32,532 from Ohio’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) while also working at a fast food restaurant for approximately 14 months. (Apparently, he incurred an on-the-job injury while working at a factory, but was able to work in a position at a burger joint despite the ailment.) BWC’s Special Investigations Department did a cross match with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and discovered the unfortunate location of the fraudster.

The already incarcerated individual got a “Get Out of Jail” card for a short period of time, just long enough to plead guilty to a fifth-degree felony. The judge sentenced him to nine months in jail to be served concurrently with his other sentence. He must also pay full restitution to the BWC.

This case is a good example of how determined the government is to track down criminals who commit fraud. It doesn’t matter where you are. If you commit a fraudulent act, you will be caught and prosecuted appropriately.

Source: Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Burglar adds workers’ comp fraud to rap sheet” published by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation on March 17, 2017.

A Cincinnati man serving time in an Indiana prison for burglary got a short break from prison March 9, but only to plead guilty to workers’ compensation fraud in an Ohio courtroom.

John Dillard Lewis, 47, pleaded guilty to the fifth-degree felony in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, where a judge sentenced him to nine months incarceration, to be served concurrent with his Indiana case. Lewis’s 2015 indictment followed an investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation that found Lewis had been working for a Wendy’s restaurant while collecting $32,532 in BWC benefits from June 17, 2013 to Aug. 12, 2014.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.