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 - April 19, 2012
Former Governor Pleads Guilty to Laundering Campaign Contributions (MO) - Former Missouri Governor Roger Wilson has pled guilty in federal court to laundering campaign contributions to the Missouri Democratic Party. Wilson and St. Louis attorney Ed Griesedieck arranged for two campaign contributions, in the amounts of $5,000 and $3,000, to be funneled from Wilson and a state-created workers' compensation company, Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Co., that Wilson once headed, to Griesedieck's law firm and then to the Missouri Democratic State Committee. Read more
Daughter Continues To Use Mom's Workers' Comp Death Benefits After Mom Passes Away (OH) - Rebecca Craig has pled guilty to a misdemeanor for misusing death benefits. Craig's mother, Mary Reinagle, a widow who died in February 2007, received death benefits via an electronic funds transfer account. Craig failed to report her mother's death and accessed the account 187 times over a four-year period. Craig admitted she did not inform BWC of her mother's death and continued to make transactions using the money from the account. Read more
Owner of Fake Company Created Fraudulent Insurance Certificates to Avoid Millions in Premiums (FL) - Yucet Batista has been arrested on charges of creating more than 250 fraudulent certificates of insurance to help uninsured contractors avoid $2.1 million in workers compensation premiums. Batista created a shell company, Y&L Construction Services, Inc., and falsely told her workers' compensation insurance company that she had been in the construction business for 10 years and that she had five employees. Instead, she created the company and obtained the workers' compensation insurance policy for the purpose of "renting" it, or making it available to dozens of uninsured subcontractors for a fee. Read more
Claimant Sought Narcotic Prescriptions From Multiple Doctors (OH) - Lloyd Wells has been convicted of two felony counts of deception to obtain a dangerous drug. Wells sought treatment from three physicians and obtained narcotic prescriptions simultaneously from each doctor. As a part of his sentence, Wells was ordered to abstain from alcohol or drugs. Read more
Son of Washington Lieutenant Governor Charged With Workers' Compensation Theft (WA) - Mark Lee Owen, the son of Lt. Governor Brad Owen, has been charged with theft and forgery. He is accused of continuing to receive compensation for an injury, which he sustained when he was shot at work at KBP Fabrications, after he returned to work, and also with forging a document so that another employee could fraudulently receive compensation. Read more
Restaurant Owner Paid His Workers' Compensation Premiums With Bad Checks (OH) - Mike Tabbaa, who owned Lunas Deli & Grill, has pled guilty to a felony for passing bad checks to pay his workers' compensation insurance premiums. Tabbaa wrote three checks for his premiums that were returned by his bank due to insufficient funds. After repaying the amount of the dishonored checks, he entered into a payment plan to pay the remaining balance that was due on his premiums, but the first check for that repayment plan bounced as well. Read more
Back Injury Claim Turns Out To be Fraudulent (CA) - Francisco Ramirez has been arrested for allegedly committing four counts of workers' compensation fraud and one count of perjury. Ramirez claimed to have injured his back while lifting a heavy object at work, and he was ultimately provided benefits from his employer's workers' compensation insurance. An investigation later uncovered evidence supporting the allegations of fraud. Read more
Girlfriend Filed Workers' Comp Claim So That Boyfriend Would Not Know She Was Unemployed (OH) - Melissa Batsche has pled guilty to filing a false workers' compensation claim for an injury that did not occur at work because she was not working at the company at the time of the injury. Batsche injured herself when she shut the trunk of her vehicle on her hand, but she had told her boyfriend that she had a job, so she filed the claim because she did not want her boyfriend to know she was unemployed. Read more
Fugitive Who Was Extradited From Italy Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud Charges in Employee Leasing Scheme (FL) - Lucia Kanis has pled guilty to one count of conspiring to impede and obstruct the Internal Revenue Service in the collection of payroll taxes as a part of an alien employee leasing scheme, and she has been sentenced to 27 months in jail and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,973,266.69. Kanis, a fugitive who had lived in Slovakia and was extradited from Italy, conspired to provide unauthorized workers, mostly East Europeans who had entered the United States on tourist visas, to American companies with whom the Kanis and her co-defendants had contracted to provide legally authorized foreign workers. The defendants were to pay payroll taxes and workers' compensation deductions on these workers, which they failed to do. Read more
EMT Received Disability Benefits While On The Job (OH) - Alfred Bollinger has pled guilty to a misdemeanor count of tampering with evidence after he was found to be working while receiving temporary total disability benefits. Bollinger had returned to work as an emergency medical technician while receiving benefits for a prior workplace injury. Read more
Testimony Given in Preliminary Hearing on Mortgage and Fraud Case Against ServiceMaster Franchisees (CA) - A California Department of Insurance fraud investigator has testified in the preliminary hearing of Steven Manchester, Bob Roberts Jr. and Heather Reavis, who are charged with multiple counts of theft, forgery, and fraud. The defendants, who operated or worked for two ServiceMaster franchises, are accused of forging homeowner insurance checks and fraudulently endorsing mortgage company information on checks for disaster and home restoration work that they never completed. In addition, they are charged with misrepresenting the type of work performed by their employees in order to fraudulently lower their workers' compensation insurance premiums. Read more
Over-the-Road Truck Driver On The Road Again While Receiving Disability (OH) - Douglas Burchett has pled guilty to a misdemeanor count of working while receiving benefits. Burchett returned to work as a truck driver while on temporary total disability, and although he denied doing so, records revealed Burchett stopped for several roadside commercial vehicle inspections in various states while driving a semi-truck. After he was confronted with the commercial vehicle inspection reports, he admitted he had been double-dipping. Read more
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