Nine people will face jail time after being convicted of Worker’s Compensation Fraud, including a man hurt in a road-rage fight who claimed to get injured at work.
The story plays like a who’s who of bad actors.
The men and women were convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, charges of defrauding the state’s workers’ compensation system.
“BWC strives to provide high-quality care to injured workers and financial stability for Ohio employers,” said BWC AdministratorCEO Steve Buehrer. “To achieve these goals,” Buehrer said “we must take action against any endeavor to abuse the system.”
The convictions included Teron Barnes of Dayton who pleaded guilty after claiming he was hurt during a robbery while working at a Dayton heating and cooling company. He later admitted his injury was a result of a fight from a road rage incident. The claim was denied. Barnes was sentenced to 90 days in jail suspended and a $100 fine. He was also placed on probation for one year and ordered 20 days of electronic home monitoring. He must also pay the BWC $1,111.57 in investigative costs and attend theft counseling.
Andrew Fristoe of Friendship, Wisc. collected death benefits by claiming he was a full-time student. Children who lose a parent due to a workplace accident are eligible for dependent death benefits until age 25, if they are enrolled in college and provide proof of full-time enrollment. Investigators were able to catch Fristoe when they received a tip and obtained records from three colleges which showed Fristoe would register for classes, provide the registration documentation to BWC to continue the benefits, and then later drop the classes. Fristoe is already serving time in Wisconsin. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison and ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution and investigative costs.
Mark Mefferd of Convoy, Ohio, pleaded guilty to operating his landscape business while receiving disability benefits. Mefferd will be sentenced April 19.
Jerry Armstrong of Elyria pleaded guilty to workers’ comp fraud. He continued working for a cabinet contractor after collecting benefits following and injury claim. Armstrong is scheduled to be sentenced on March 22.
Bruce Van Schoyck of Lima, collected temporary total disability benefits while investigators discovered he was hauling campers from Ohio to Tucker, Georgia and Lexington, North Carolina. Van Schoyck was ordered to pay restitution of $2,944.84.
Richard Ketcham of Lima was working as a photographer while receiving disability benefits. Investigators say Ketcham took team photos for various local club sports teams in the Lima area. He was placed on three-year community control and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $26,716.38.
Christopher Galloway of West Portsmouth was working as an independent truck driver while receiving temporary total disability benefits. He was given a suspended sentence of six months in jail and two years of community control. He must also pay $1,812.18 in restitution, in addition to court costs.
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