A former Peebles (Adams County) woman has been ordered to repay the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) $57,000 after she was discovered committing fraud. Alfreda Dozier was working at a restaurant in Georgia while claiming a previous workplace injury left her permanently and totally disabled.
“Permanent disability caused by a workplace accident is a tragedy, and it is unconscionable that anyone would feign permanent disability to exploit the system,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “Thanks to an anonymous source, Ms. Dozier’s scheme has come to an end and we’ll see more than $57,000 returned to the State Insurance Fund.”
The source contacted BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) to report Dozier was working at a restaurant in Kingsland, Ga. while receiving disability benefits. Dozier was placed on permanent disability in 2000 after two doctors collectively opined Dozier’s functional limitations were so extensive that she was totally incapable of any sustained work activity and should not crouch, stoop, bend, kneel, lift or grasp objects at all. Medical reports also indicated Dozier could not stand alone, used a wheelchair, and needed assistance with activities such as bathing and dressing.
The investigation produced evidence of Dozier working as a restaurant laborer and manager for Blue’s BBQ and G-Daddy’s Bar-B-Q while intentionally concealing her activities from BWC in order to continue receiving benefits.
Dozier was indicted in June, 2011 but failed to appear for her arraignment and a warrant was issued for her arrest. SID agents continued searching for Dozier, and she was ultimately caught when BWC’s Digital Forensics Unit tracked her down in Texas through the internet. A new arrest warrant was issued at her new address in White Oak, Texas and she appeared in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Sept. 25.
Dozier pleaded guilty to one felony count of workers’ compensation fraud. Judge O’Donnell sentenced her to 180 days in jail, suspended for five years of community control. Conditions of community control are that she pay $57,031.94 in restitution to BWC and obtain no new convictions.
To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292, visit www.bwc.ohio.gov, or visit www.facebook.com/ohiobwcfraud.
Source: Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation