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Workers' comp bureau employees accused of falsifying records to use sick time

• Feb 15, 2019 at 4:30 PM

COLUMBUS — A pair of state workers are facing felony times for allegedly falsifying records to use sick time.

The Ohio Inspector General issued a report of investigation after investigating a referral from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OBWC) alleging that OBWC Medical Claims Specialist Jessica Caldwell had submitted falsified records to her supervisor to use sick time.

The Inspector General’s Office worked collaboratively with the OBWC Special Investigations Department. The Inspector General’s investigators subpoenaed physician visitation records and conducted interviews with physicians.

After conducting an analysis of records obtained and evaluating information provided during interviews, investigators determined that Caldwell submitted to her supervisor physician verification forms (PVF) with forged physician signatures on 10 occasions in order to use sick time. Investigators also examined Caldwell’s computer and discovered a file identified as “dr_note” that was used to create several PVFs with forged physician signatures that had been submitted by Caldwell.

During the course of the Caldwell investigation, investigators were notified that a second OBWC employee, Medical Claims Supervisor Lauren McLuckie, was also submitting PVFs with forged physician signatures. Investigators subpoenaed and evaluated records from medical providers and determined that McLuckie submitted to her supervisor 10 PVFs with forged physician signatures in order to use sick time. Investigators also examined McLuckie’s work area and discovered a folder containing several versions of PVFs from three medical providers.

Several of the PVFs found in the folder were either blank, contained white-out portions, or had paper taped to certain sections of the forms to conceal information.

The report of investigation was referred to the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office. On February 13, 2019, Jessica Caldwell and Lauren McLuckie were each indicted by a Franklin County grand jury for one count of theft in office and three counts of forgery.

Ohio Inspector General Report of Investigation file number 2018-CA00035 is now available at http://watchdog.ohio.gov/investigations/2019investigations.aspx

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