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Man ordered to repay more than $22,000 in workers’ comp benefits

Norwalk Reflector Staff • May 29, 2014 at 4:07 PM

An Upper Sandusky (Wyandot County) man was ordered to repay more than $22,000 in connection with improperly receiving workplace injury benefits. Gerald Whitacre pleaded guilty May 15 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony.

“An attentive employer services specialist was able to identify Mr. Whitacre’s falsified wage statements,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “Staff members in many departments within BWC work to detect fraud at every level and put a stop to it.”

After conducting an employer audit, a BWC employer service specialist reported a suspicion that Whitacre may have falsified wage statements from a trucking company in Upper Sandusky to obtain increased workers’ compensation benefits. Investigators found that Whitacre altered his pay stubs to lower dollar amounts and submitted them to BWC to qualify for working wage loss disability benefits. He underreported his payroll to BWC on 41 wage statements, and if he had accurately reported his earnings, he would not have been entitled to the benefits he received.

Whitacre was sentenced to 12 months of incarceration, which was suspended for five years of community control. Conditions of Whitacre’s community control include paying $22,468.81 in restitution to BWC, obtaining viable employment, paying court costs and not having any new convictions. If he violates the terms of community control, Whitacre will serve 12 months of incarceration.

To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov.

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