When an employee gets injured on the job, workers’ compensation coverage is supposed to be in place to make sure that funds are available for any sort of claims made by the injured individual. Not all employers, however, are in tune with the law and some victims of workplace accidents have been forced to receive money from the state of Ohio instead. According to authorities, one such employer is Cleveland Tire & Wheel, located in Cleveland, Ohio. The owner of the company was reportedly concealing payroll information so that he could avoid purchasing workers’ compensation coverage.
This move has landed the man in jail for 120 days, which he will serve over the course of 60 weeks, two days at a time. He was found guilty of one felony count of workers’ compensation fraud in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas and was told that he would begin his sentence in early September. When the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation received a report that the business did not have coverage, it began investigating the company and its owner. Without such insurance coverage, owners can put funds allocated for law-abiding employers and their injured employees at risk. During the period of time during which the owner of Cleveland Tire & Wheel had no coverage, three workers’ compensation claims were made. These claims cost the state insurance fund $30,000.
Units from the BWC, including the Special Investigations Department Employer Fraud Team and the Employer Compliance Department, were looking into the company and informing its owner of the laws requiring workers’ compensation insurance. Still, the man continued concealing the payroll and failed to acquire coverage. His sentence also includes a requirement to enter into a payment plan to repay more than $60,000 in overdue insurance premiums. His conviction could affect his probation in another state. Some believe that it could land him behind bars for as long as 99 years.
Claims Journal, “Ohio Business Owner Sentenced for Failing to Maintain Workers’ Comp Coverage” No author given, Aug. 26, 2013