Self-Inflicted Injury

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69510709 - interior armchair for client to room in hospital

Vocational rehabilitation services match injured or disabled workers with jobs that suit their abilities. A woman who ran two vocational rehabilitation businesses in Ohio that provided job placement for injured workers took advantage of the employees and the employers she supposedly helped by overbilling the state’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) more than $50,000 in services. (She figured that no one would be checking her mileage claims.)

Vocational rehabilitation services benefit the employee—who might otherwise be unable to find suitable work—and the employer—who needs a particular function to be performed. (The woman in this case probably helped a few folks by matching them up with jobs, but the main goal was to benefit herself.)

According to an article published by WorkersCompensation.com, the owner submitted claims to the BWC’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program for reimbursement claiming that she travelled 130 miles to assist each of her clients with workers’ compensation claims. (It’s important to note that 130 miles is the maximum amount of mileage that could be charged. This consistent amount was charged across all clients and eventually captured the attention of BWC investigators.)

In addition to also billing the maximum amount of time possible for each client, she also billed the BWC for mileage, as well as travel and wait time, for clients that were not related to the BWC. She also submitted bogus treatment notes and bills. (So, basically she just drove around a lot and filled out paperwork, if she drove anywhere at all.)

The 35-year-old woman confessed to her illegal acts when confronted and pleaded guilty to one count of workers’ compensation fraud. She must serve five years of community control. (That is better than a prison sentence.)She must also pay the BWC $20,869.47 and cover the cost of the investigation which tallied up to $35,000.

Oddly enough, it seems that this fraudster, who was supposed to be helping place workers in jobs, needs a little work rehabilitation of her own. (Her self-inflicted job-related injury was selfish and will definitely not qualify her to receive any workers’ compensation benefits at all.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article, ”Ohio Voc Rehab Provider Sentence on Workers’ Comp Fraud,” published by WorkersCompensation.com on June 30, 2016.

Columbus, OH (WorkersCompensation.com) – A northeast Ohio woman who runs a vocational rehabilitation services business must pay the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation nearly $56,000 as part of her sentence for committing workers’ compensation fraud.

Kristina L. Russell, 36, of North Canton, also must serve five years of community control in lieu of a nine-month prison sentence, a judge ruled June 24 in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. She must pay BWC $20,869.47 in restitution and $35,000 for the cost of the investigation.

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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.