Workers’ Compensation programs provide wage replacement benefits, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation, and other benefits to individuals who have experienced work-related injuries or diseases. Every day, employees turn into fraudsters by trying to exploit this program.
A retired police officer from Canton, Ohio has been convicted of workers’ compensation fraud for fraudulently obtaining benefits. James Blaine pleaded guilty to lying to his employer about being injured and receiving benefits he was not entitled to. (Do I need to point out the irony of someone who once enforced the law is now breaking it?)
An investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation discovered that Blaine was working two jobs while receiving workers’ compensation benefits. (He was making a good amount of money by being bad.) He was falsely claiming to be permanently and totally disabled for an injury he suffered while working for a salt company.
Individuals who are receiving workers’ compensation benefits are not allowed to be employed while receiving benefits. Benefits are intended for individuals who cannot return to work or find new employment due to their sustained injuries. (Otherwise, you’d be required to make your own money. In this case Blaine wanted to leech off the government.)
Blaine was working as a security guard for a private company in late 2017 while he was receiving workers’ compensation benefits. He was also operating his own landscaping business during this time, despite collecting permanent total disability benefits. (It’s highly doubtful that a permanently disabled person could do either of these jobs.)
It’s important to note that this workers’ compensation fraud scheme is unrelated to Blaine’s former position as a Canton police officer. He retired from the force in 1997 and his behavior is no longer associated with or a reflection of Canton law enforcement. (No doubt the men in blue would be greatly disappointed in Blaine’s actions.)
Judge Natalie Haupt ordered Blaine to serve three years of intensive supervisory probation, obtain a full-time job, and perform 100 hours of community service. (Blaine is going to need a full time job to pay back all the restitution he owes.) He was also ordered to repay the state nearly $90,000. Blaine must pay the agency $66,481 in restitution and $23,000 in investigative costs. (Sounds fair enough.)
Blaine pleaded guilty in Stark County Common Pleas Court by way of a bill of information. This is an expedited court process that skips a grand jury hearing. (Blaine knew he wasn’t innocent. Why bother wasting everyone’s time pretending otherwise?) Blaine’s attorney Thomas Cranston declined comment when reached for comment.
Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Retired Canton police officer convicted of workers’ comp fraud,” published by The Repository on November 13, 2020.
A retired Canton police officer who was injured on an unrelated job has been convicted of workers’ compensation fraud and ordered to repay the state nearly $90,000.
James H. Blaine, 60, of McKinley Avenue SE in North Canton, pleaded guilty last month to the fourth-degree felony, according to Stark County court records. He was sentenced on Thursday.