Racketeering charges detail scam to defraud Workers’ Comp fund

Racketeering charges detail scam to defraud Workers’ Comp fund

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A chain of Cleveland area medical clinics that specialize in treating injured workers, its former co-owner and a doctor who worked there have been indicted on criminal racketeering charges.

The Medical Care Group – which has had offices in Cleveland, North Olmsted, Parma, Warrensville Heights and Euclid – former co-owner Dianne Javier and Dr. Stephen Bernie were named in 170-count indictment.

Prosecutors say between 2008 and 2014, the accused ran a criminal enterprise that systematically defrauded Ohio's Bureau of Workers' Compensation by billing it for procedures that were never done and by inflating the percentage of disability for injured workers, thereby making them eligible for higher payments from the state.

The indictment also charges that the defendants handed out prescriptions for medications including powerful opioids without examining or monitoring the individuals requesting them and routinely tampered with official records.

Dr. Bernie, 77, and the business are named in all 170 counts of the indictment. Ms. Javier, 71, is named in 75 counts.

A former employee of The Medical Care Group, Kim Seltzer, pleaded guilty last year to workers' compensation fraud, tampering with records and drug trafficking. All charges stemmed from his work at the chain's North Olmsted clinic. Seltzer is currently serving a 51-month sentence at the Mansfield Correctional Institution.

Investigators estimate that the criminal acts of the defendants cost the State of Ohio roughly $216,000.

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