Fraud, like garbage, is a load of rubbish. Fraud cases litter the nation’s judicial system and cause a massive waste of time and resources for all involved. (And, let’s not forget the negative impact to victims.) A Cleveland, Ohio man used his job as a garbage hauler and construction worker to commit workers’ compensation fraud by scamming the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) out of disability benefits he did not qualify for or deserve.
The garbage man in the fraud spotlight today is not the kind of guy who slings contents of garbage cans into the back of a garbage truck. He is a former contractor who removed waste in large quantities. (It’s important to note that his attempt at workers’ compensation fraud was not his first offense, or his second for that matter.)
The Ohio man, who was the owner of several Cleveland-area garbage-hauling companies, was previously involved in the demolition of an asbestos-filled building in Cleveland. (Prior to leveling the building, he stored garbage on the premises.) When the building was torn down, harmful toxins were released into the air. (Near several homes and a school, I might add.) He was sentenced to 57 months in prison for violating the Clear Air Act, which is a U.S. federal law that controls air pollution.
The Ohioan’s second brush with the law involved a conviction for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. He stole $1.2 million from a Louisiana company by submitting false invoices for work that his companies never performed. (Then like a true fraudster, he used $12,000 of the ill-gotten funds to pay off his personal credit card debt.)
The trash aficionado was already serving time in prison for fraud, money laundering and violating the Clean Air Act, when he received his third conviction related to workers’ compensation fraud. He had previously worked as a driver and heavy equipment operator while also receiving BWC benefits. (His ruse was busted after several BWC representatives called to verify his claims. They heard construction noise in the background each time they talked to the fraudster.)
The garbage man’s attempt to bury his criminal acts was uncovered. The 53-year-old man was sentenced to 186 days in jail with credit for time served. This man’s trash had previously been a treasure as an illegal source of income. Now it looks like he’ll be wasting away in prison for the foreseeable future.
Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Ohio Convict Adds Workers’ Comp Fraud to Criminal Record,” posted on workcompwire.com on December 3, 2017.
Columbus, OH – A Cleveland garbage hauler and construction worker serving time in a federal prison for fraud, money laundering and violating the Clean Air Act pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud last week.
Christopher Gattarello, 53, pleaded guilty Nov. 22 to a fifth-degree felony count of workers’ compensation fraud for working while receiving temporary disability benefits from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. A judge in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas sentenced Gattarello to 186 days in jail with credit for time served.