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Workers' compensation Fraudsters Caught in the Act

COLUMBUS (Brooks Jarosz) -- New undercover video exposes workers faking injuries, finding loopholes, and ultimately defrauding the Ohio Bureau of Workers' compensation.

ABC 6 Investigators are targeting those stealing from the state, finding that just last month there were nine who were convicted of ripping off the state insurance fund.

Those convicted claimed they couldn't work, but bank statements, records, and surveillance video proved otherwise.

Samuel Jarrell claimed he hurt himself and was getting total disability benefits. However, he's seen carrying parts, operating a forklift, and even unloading wheels and tires from a pickup truck. Agents caught him on camera day after day running the family truck and auto repair shop in Marion.

"It's amazing what goes on out there," Special Agent Scott Lape said. "People are just so blatant in the way the commit fraud."

Scott Lape is special agent in charge with at least 200 open cases where people like Jarrell are faking injuries. Bank records show Jarrell was getting paid for working at the repair shop.

Investigators say they showed the undercover video to Jarrell's doctors who were surprised and sided with agents, getting a conviction against Jarrell. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and ordered to pay more than $6,000 in restitution.

In another case, a tip to investigators lead them to a job site near Mansfield. That's where Charles Mattox, of Newark, was seen working on a roof and removing shingles. It's against the law because Mattox is getting workers' compensation benefits.

Mattox claims to be hurt, however, he was caught on camera climbing ladders, walking on the roof, removing and replacing it all while investigators say he was getting paid under the table.

When agents confronted Mattox about the work, he swore under oath in a written statement saying at no time did he do any work, supervise, or get paid. Mattox claims he stayed in the house but the video exposes him day after day on the roof.

Mattox was convicted and ordered to pay nearly $3,000 in restitution. He was also sentenced to 90 days in jail.

Agents says they want to send a message to anyone trying to scam the system.

"We hope it's a deterrent," Agent Lape said. "We want them to know that we are watching and we investigate every allegation we receive."

Thousands of allegations means across the state, agents are watching for fraudsters who can't keep their hands out of the state's pockets.

Just in 2014, the Bureau of Workers' compensation found $60 million in fraud. In total, nearly 150 indictments and 130 convictions for workers stealing from the state. 

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