HR Strange But True

Crime Doesn’t Pay—and Neither Does Publicity—When You Are on WC

By: Elaine Quayle

When you are on workers’ compensation (WC) but also working on the sly, you might be afraid the WC bureau will catch you for fraud. But it’s a sure bet if you have your picture in an ad for your new employer in the Sunday newspaper!

According to a press release from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), a man had collected about $8,000 in “nonworking wage loss benefits  … available to injured workers who tell [BWC] they are searching, but have been unable to secure employment within their physical restrictions.”  Said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer, “It can provide useful assistance during a difficult time following a workplace injury, but is not available to those who have found employment.”

However, a particular individual receiving benefits for a prior workplace injury had indeed found new employment—as a used car salesman for a Zanesville dealership.

Maybe he wanted to improve his sales, but it wasn’t the best idea for him to pose with the lot’s used car specials for a display ad in the Sunday newspaper’s auto section.

Someone who recognized the worker contacted BWC Special Investigations Department (SID) with the allegation that the salesman in the photo was currently on WC.

The salesman was easy to find! He was indicted and pleaded guilty to one felony count of workers’ compensation fraud. The judge ordered him to repay the $8,000 to the state and serve 1 year in jail.

Guess he will have lots of time to read the newspaper.