A pub crawl is an event where participants visit multiple bars in a single night, either on foot or by public transportation. These social outings are sometimes organized so that those who imbibe pay an affordable price no matter the type of beverage consumed. A Hamilton, Ohio bar owner got hammered by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) for letting his establishment’s workers’ compensation coverage lapse and subsequently paid a high price for neglecting the agency’s policy. Even though he tried to ignore his workers’ compensation fraud charges, it wasn’t long before he found himself crawling back to the BWC asking for forgiveness.
The bar owner let his workers’ compensation insurance coverage lapse for quite some time, and he refused to comply with the BWC even after they made several attempts to help him reinstate his insurance policy. After skipping out on a court date for his arraignment, the agency pressed charges. (When the government offers you a chance to make good on a debt, do it, don’t ignore it.)
At that point in this man’s fraud crawl, his case was referred to the Ohio Liquor Control Commission. (By state law, the agency requires establishments holding liquor licenses to also carry workers’ compensation coverage for their employees.) Consequently, the Liquor Control Commission suspended the bar owner’s liquor license. (It’s kind of tough to operate as a bar if you can’t sell alcohol.)
Even though the bar’s license to sell alcohol was suspended, the establishment continued to sell alcoholic beverages. A year after the license suspension, agents raided the business, found them selling alcohol, seized $2,600 in liquor proceeds and nearly 1,500 bottles and cans of beer and liquor. (I bet that the owner experienced a regret hangover the next day like no other after he realized how much trouble he was in.) Miraculously, the bar owner complied with the BWC’s wishes and started a repayment plan the very next day. (I’m sure that meeting was very sobering.)
The 53-year-old pub owner from Ohio now has a criminal conviction for workers’ compensation fraud on his record after pleading guilty to a second-degree misdemeanor count of failure to comply. He was fined $150 and sentenced to two years of community control and must apply $1,000 of the cash seized in the raid to be applied to his BWC debt. (That sounds like a light punishment considering the government had to chase him down to make him pay up.)
It’s important to note that the BWC, like other agencies, are willing to work with offenders to bring them back into compliance. This man tried to cheat the system by avoiding responsibility and learned his lesson the hard way. Let’s hope this case serves as a last call for other establishments that are thinking about or are currently committing workers’ compensation fraud.
Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Bar owner ignores BWC debt, then pays after liquor agents raid bar” published by Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation on June 9, 2017.
A Hamilton bar owner who refused to cooperate with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) over his lapsed coverage entered a repayment plan with BWC after state liquor control agents raided his bar in early April and seized cash and liquor.
The workers’ compensation coverage for Alleys on the River in Hamilton is now active and in compliance, but owner Michael E. Larkin, 53, has a criminal conviction on his record now after pleading guilty May 31 to a second-degree misdemeanor count of failure to comply. A Hamilton municipal judge fined him $150, sentenced him to two years of community control and ordered that $1,000 of the cash seized in the raid be applied to his BWC debt.