North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Experts Weigh in on Big Fraud Case out of Ohio

Published: 2011-03-21 13:09:29
Author: Michael A. DeMayo

  Experts in the field of North Carolina workers’ compensation spend a lot of time ruminating about how to identify and stamp out fraud. When parties bilk the system out of money, not only do the costs ultimately get passed on to insurers, employers and employees who need benefits, but the bonds of trust that hold the system together also weaken.

To that point, the Ohio Bureau for Workers’ Compensation has its hands full dealing with a case of workers' comp fraud out of Fairfield County. A chiropractor pled guilty last week to fraud and agreed to pay $104,000 in restitution payments as well as $5,000 to cover the cost of the investigation. Dr. Gary Berner took the plea deal to stop an impending trial. His Back and Spine Center had been at the center of a probe. Dr. Berner and three other employees of the Back and Spine Center faced multiple charges, including workers comp fraud, forgery (32 counts), theft, and racketeering. The other three employees have already been convicted of workers’ comp fraud – Dr. Berner’s trial will start up on March 29th. Dr. Berner, along with his partner, Dr. Bruce Holaday, allegedly developed a scheme to bill for services even after being banned to provide said services to hurt workers.

Obviously, in cases like this, unless you read the investigation very carefully and examine all the arguments that both sides make, you can’t really come to a clear determination. For instance, did the chiropractor and his co-workers harm their patients, or did they simple bend the rules in a relatively benign way? Hard to tell from a simple news account.