Exclusive: Couple Busted in Fake Workers’ Comp Scheme

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BRIMFIELD, Ohio -- A Portage County couple was busted for stealing more than a half-million dollars in fraudulent claims.

Surveillance video from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation shows Robert Shriner, 51, riding a motorized bike around his home in Brimfield. On another occasion, Shriner was seen hopping onto the hood of his van to fix the windshield.

Shriner was placed on permanent, total disability (PTD) after he fell from a horse while he was working as a trainer at Stachowski Farm in Mantua, Ohio.

An agent with the Ohio BWC, who asked not to be identified, said Shriner claimed his work-related injuries were so severe he was unable to brush his teeth or bathe himself. “It was very egregious, very bold.”

Investigators say Shriner and his ex-wife, 48-year-old Jocelyn Burke, concocted an elaborate scheme to collect more than $500,000 in benefits over a period of eight years.

“They would go the doctor’s office, and he would pretend like he was sleeping. She would tell the doctors he was totally unable to care for himself, so the doctor authorized home health care,” said the agent.

Investigators say Shriner’s wife collected pay for round-the-clock care while she traveled back and forth to California.

“She filled out log sheets, indicating that she was helping him, shaving, walking and driving. They had another scheme going where another woman would pretend to watch their disabled son, and Medicaid would pay her. She'd take some off the top and then put the rest in their account.”

After a lengthy investigation, the couple was indicted on two felony counts of fraud and theft.

Both pleaded guilty and were sentenced to five years of probation.

Shiner was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $159,716, and his ex-wife was ordered to pay $338,000 plus $30,000 for investigative costs.

“It’s a shame because so many people are out there who are disabled and have these problems,” said the agent.

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