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Each week we'll be surveying what the media, state agencies, insurance companies, and others report in terms of workers' comp fraud. Just like a police blotter, our workers' comp fraud blotter lists recent arrests, charges, convictions and investigations.
Workers' Comp Fraud Blotter - June 6, 2013
Shooting Supply Business Owner's Fraud Scheme Shot Down By His Own Tax Returns (MT) - William Szudera, the owner of B&G Shooting, has pled guilty to mail fraud for unlawfully collecting federal workers' compensation checks though the U.S. mail. Szudera began receiving benefits in 1984. He filed annual certifications from 2001 to 2012 that stated that he was unemployed, did not receive any outside income, and had no involvement in any business enterprises. Tax returns that he filed with the IRS from 2002 to 2010, though, stated that B&G Shooting had gross receipts ranging from approximately $500,000 to $750,000. The returns indicated a profit for every year with the exception of 2006. He admitted to investigators that he had knowingly received income while not reporting it on his annual certifications. Read more
No Solace For Family of Murdered Mom, But Boss Arrested For Workers' Compensation Fraud (FL) - Mohammed Ansari, the owner of a Mobil gas station and convenience store where store clerk Zuheily Roman Rosado was murdered in February, has been charged with failing to maintain workers' compensation insurance at the time of the murder. Rosado's family, including her six children, would have been eligible for $7,500 in funeral benefits and up to $150,000 of additional benefits if the insurance had been paid. Ansari has claimed both that he was not required to have insurance and that the check was lost in the mail. Read more
Disabled Postal Worker Caught On National TV Spinning the Big Wheel On "The Price Is Right" (NC) - Cathy Wrench Cashwell probably won't be inviting Drew Carey to her September sentencing in federal court after she pled guilty to workers' compensation fraud this week. Cashwell had been collecting federal workers' compensation benefits for a shoulder injury that she claimed prevented her from lifting mail trays and reaching or grasping. But she was able to appear on "The Price Is Right" and spin the big wheel on national television without difficulty. She was also found to have gone ziplining while on a Carnival Cruise. Read more
Workers' Compensation Fraud Investigation Leads to Identity Theft Charges (CA) - Roberto Carlos Mendoza-Lazo has been charged with identity theft and attempted perjury. During the course of a workers' compensation fraud investigation, it was revealed that Mendoza-Lazo used the social security numbers of two individuals to obtain employment and attempted to obtain workers' compensation benefits using the same social security numbers. Read more
Workers' Compensation Claims Examiner Created Phony Trusts and Collected $8 Million In Tax Refunds From IRS (OH) - Don Gooch, who is a retired claims examiner for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, and co-defendant Gerard Scott have been charged with collecting $8 million in fictitious tax refunds by filing false tax returns with the IRS. Gooch and Scott allegedly created a fictitious trust and reported that it had withheld income taxes for a trust and holding company. No taxes were ever sent by the trust to the IRS, but Gooch and Scott filed tax returns that resulted in four refund checks from the IRS. They then tried to launder the money from the refunds by purchasing a Range Rover and gold and silver coins. Read more
Former CEO, Bookkeeper Plead Guilty To Embezzling $2.6 Million From Insurance Service Firm (MI) - Jerry Stage, the former CEO of the Compensation Advisory Organization of Michigan (CAOM), has pled guilty to embezzling approximately $2.6 million from the company during an eleven-year period, working with CAOM bookkeeper, George Bauer, who also has pled guilty, to cover up his tracks. Stage was employed as CEO of CAOM from 1993 until his retirement in July, 2012. Stage paid Bauer to help him cut checks to himself, paying Bauer for his silence. CAOM is a non-profit corporation providing administrative and customer service support for the Michigan Workers' Compensation Placement Facility. It collects data from member insurers licensed to sell workers' compensation insurance in Michigan and is not associated with state government. Read more
Cement Truck Driver By Day, Bar Bouncer By Night (OH) - Bryan Starcher has pled guilty to workers' compensation fraud. Starcher was found to be working as a truck driver at a cement company and as a bouncer at a bar while receiving Temporary Total Disability. Starcher was interviewed and he admitted that he was not entitled to the benefits. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and made restitution. Read more
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