Self-Inflicted Injury

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69510709 - interior armchair for client to room in hospital

Vocational rehabilitation services match injured or disabled workers with jobs that suit their abilities. A woman who ran two vocational rehabilitation businesses in Ohio that provided job placement for injured workers took advantage of the employees and the employers she supposedly helped by overbilling the state’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) more than $50,000 in services. (She figured that no one would be checking her mileage claims.)

Vocational rehabilitation services benefit the employee—who might otherwise be unable to find suitable work—and the employer—who needs a particular function to be performed. (The woman in this case probably helped a few folks by matching them up with jobs, but the main goal was to benefit herself.)

According to an article published by WorkersCompensation.com, the owner submitted claims to the BWC’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program for reimbursement claiming that she travelled 130 miles to assist each of her clients with workers’ compensation claims. (It’s important to note that 130 miles is the maximum amount of mileage that could be charged. This consistent amount was charged across all clients and eventually captured the attention of BWC investigators.)

In addition to also billing the maximum amount of time possible for each client, she also billed the BWC for mileage, as well as travel and wait time, for clients that were not related to the BWC. She also submitted bogus treatment notes and bills. (So, basically she just drove around a lot and filled out paperwork, if she drove anywhere at all.)

The 35-year-old woman confessed to her illegal acts when confronted and pleaded guilty to one count of workers’ compensation fraud. She must serve five years of community control. (That is better than a prison sentence.)She must also pay the BWC $20,869.47 and cover the cost of the investigation which tallied up to $35,000.

Oddly enough, it seems that this fraudster, who was supposed to be helping place workers in jobs, needs a little work rehabilitation of her own. (Her self-inflicted job-related injury was selfish and will definitely not qualify her to receive any workers’ compensation benefits at all.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article, ”Ohio Voc Rehab Provider Sentence on Workers’ Comp Fraud,” published by WorkersCompensation.com on June 30, 2016.

Columbus, OH (WorkersCompensation.com) – A northeast Ohio woman who runs a vocational rehabilitation services business must pay the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation nearly $56,000 as part of her sentence for committing workers’ compensation fraud.

Kristina L. Russell, 36, of North Canton, also must serve five years of community control in lieu of a nine-month prison sentence, a judge ruled June 24 in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. She must pay BWC $20,869.47 in restitution and $35,000 for the cost of the investigation.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.