COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation said Friday it secured seven convictions in fraud cases during the month of February.
The BWC said in a release that a doctor who ran a pill mill in Dayton and the owner of a massage parlor in Medina were among seven Ohioans convicted or sentenced in February on workers’ compensation fraud or related charges.
Morris Brown, M.D., 73, was sentenced Feb. 8 to two years in prison after investigators with the BWC and other state and federal authorities discovered his involvement in an opioid ring. Brown was convicted in February last year.
“I’m proud of our Special Investigations Department for its role in bringing this criminal activity to an end,” said BWC Interim Administrator/CEO John Logue.
The BWC said others convicted or sentenced in February include:
Yulian Fu, Lucky Jade LLC, Medina, Ohio
Yulian Fu pleaded guilty Feb. 11 to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony, after his business came under scrutiny by a task force investigating illegal activities at massage parlors. BWC investigators – joining The Ohio Investigative Unit and other federal, state and local agencies – discovered Fu was operating his business without BWC coverage. Multiple defendants, charges, and convictions were involved in this case. On the workers’ comp fraud charge, Fu was sentenced to three years discretionary post release control.
Frederick Romito Jr., Youngstown, Ohio
Frederick Romito Jr. pleaded guilty Feb. 22 in Franklin County to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony, after BWC found him working as a home remodeler while collecting BWC disability benefits. Romito was sentenced to five years of community control with an 11-month suspended prison sentence. He was ordered to pay $17,467 in restitution to BWC.
Rhonda Rauch, dba The Yard Butler and Landscape Services, Lancaster, Ohio
Rhonda Rauch, owner of The Yard Butler Lawn and Landscape Services LLC, pleaded guilty Feb. 16 to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony. BWC found Rauch had presented six forged/altered BWC Certificates of Coverage to Fairfield County Library in order to secure various bids for landscaping and snow removal services. Rauch was sentenced to five years of community control and ordered to pay restitution of $4,448 to BWC.
Bridget Casas, Cleveland, Ohio
Bridget Casas pleaded guilty Feb. 9 to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony, after BWC found her working as a caregiver while receiving temporary disability benefits from BWC. Prior to her guilty plea, Casas paid BWC $9,606 in restitution. She was sentenced to two days in jail and granted credit for time served.
Manish Walia, dba Imaginarium Foods, Lima, Ohio
Manish Walia, co-owner of Imaginarium Foods, pleaded guilty Feb. 3 in Lima Municipal Court to one count of failure to comply, a second-degree misdemeanor. Walia was sentenced to a $250 fine and court costs. Walia had requested a BWC policy after a worker had filed a claim against his company, a Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robins location. BWC discovered he had been operating the business without workers’ compensation coverage.
Donnie Schilling, dba Cleveland Tire and Wheel, Cleveland, Ohio
Donnie Schilling was convicted Feb. 1 for the second time in eight years for workers’ compensation fraud after BWC found him operating his business without coverage. Schilling pleaded guilty to one count of worker’s compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony. A judge placed him on community control for one year to ensure he pays his outstanding debt to BWC. Schilling pleaded guilty to a similar charge in 2013.