A Word to the Unwise


Here’s a word or two to the unwise who try to get away with workers’ compensation fraud. When a workers’ compensation agency comes knocking on your door willing to work out a deal, don’t slam the door in their face. After the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) made several attempts to work with today’s fraudster from Mansfield, they pulled out all the stops and went after him for workers’ compensation fraud.

Here’s some background information for today’s case. In Ohio, even if a business only employs one person, the company must carry workers’ compensation insurance. (Ohio is different than most states in that every business with employees must purchase workers’ compensation insurance through a state agency – the BWC.)

When the BWC Special Investigations Department discovered that the owner of a Mansfield, Ohio freight hauling and trucking company was operating without workers’ compensation coverage, the state agency made several attempts to meet with the owner to bring the company into compliance with state law.

Well, as you know, I wouldn’t be writing about this character if he had agreed to comply. BWC investigators didn’t waste any time. They subpoenaed bank records and performed an audit of his business, finding evidence that the owner under-reported his company’s payroll for several pay periods to try to lower the amount of money he owed the agency. (Whoever tried to “cook the books” really messed up.)

It was also discovered that the freight-hauling and trucking company owner submitted falsified new applications for BWC coverage. (He failed to document previous policies with the agencies and he also underreported the number of employees.) Company owners who commit this type of crime are trying to lower the amount of insurance premiums they must pay. This gives them an unfair competitive advantage over other companies who play by the rules.

The fraudster was convicted on four felony workers’ compensation fraud charges including tampering with records. He was ordered to serve two years of probation and pay the BWC $144,400 in restitution. The Mansfield man was also ordered to bring his company’s workers’ compensation policy into compliance with Ohio State law. (That requires him to pay $137,447 in unpaid policy premiums, plus nearly $7,000 for the cost of the investigation that revealed this man’s crime.)

Hopefully, today’s fraudster is wiser after receiving his punishment. (Who knows what might have happened if he had only invited in the BWC investigators for a cup of coffee, a donut and a willingness to make amends. Things might have turned out differently.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Ohio Freight Hauler Sentenced for Workers’ Comp Fraud, Must Repay $144K,” published by Insurance Journal on April 16, 2019.  

The owner of a Mansfield, Ohio, freight hauling and trucking company convicted on four felony charges related to workers’ compensation fraud, has been ordered to pay the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) $144,400 in restitution.

The BWC reported that Robert Tate, owner of Elite TNT Enterprises, also was ordered to serve two years of probation. He was convicted on two counts of workers’ comp fraud, fourth-degree felonies, and two counts of tampering with records, third-degree felonies.

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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.