Published Thu, May 10, 2012 2:03 pm Dateline
A Gallia County woman pleaded guilty to workers' compensation fraud and forgery this week after she was found forging documents in order to receive undue injured worker benefits.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation says that Maria Patterson of Vinton must repay more than $7,000 for attempting to extend the benefits she was receiving for a prior workplace injury beyond her eligibility.
The bureau's special investigations department began the investigation after receiving an allegation from an employee who suspected that Patterson submitted three falsified C-84 forms.
The investigation revealed that the woman signed her doctor's name and misrepresented her dates of disability.
"Physicians are an important part of the process of evaluating the condition of injured workers and whether they are able to return to work," said Steve Buehrer, administrator of BWC. "Forging a provider's name to extend benefits is not only illegal, it denies them their role in guiding a medical treatment plan designed to get injured workers back on this job."
Patterson was also sentenced to 180 days in person on each felony count. She is currently serving a nine year prison sentence for unrelated charges of burglary, two counts of theft, tampering with evidence and breaking and entering.