Wednesday, January 17, 2018 Medina
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Cops & Courts

Owner gets jail for workers' comp fraud

  • Robert-Matusiak

    PHOTO PROVIDED

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The owner of Rob's Tree Service in Brunswick was given six months in jail in Medina County Common Pleas Court on Thursday.

Robert-Matusiak

PHOTO PROVIDED Enlarge

Robert D. Matusiak, 37, of Brunswick, had pleaded guilty to one count of workers' compensation fraud, a fourth-degree felony, in September.

"The court imposed a sentence that the court thought was appropriate based upon the facts and the laws of this case," Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman said.

According to a news release from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, the plea resulted from an investigation that began in 2012 when it was found that the tree service company owed the agency $22,000 in back premiums.

"He does admit he had trouble paying workers' compensation premium (and) he admits he didn't pay his premium," defense attorney Lawrence Whitney of Akron told Judge Joyce V. Kimbler.

Whitney declined further comment to The Gazette on Matusiak's sentencing.

In 2004, Matusiak opened and closed his policy, saying he no longer operated Rob's Tree Service. The bureau said it began receiving injury claims from his employees in the years that followed.

The bureau said Matusiak ignored the agency's attempts to work with him to bring his policy into compliance.

The bureau also said Matusiak applied for new coverage but under a different address and another person's name.

Matusiak stated on the application that there were no other policies associated with the current operation of Rob's Tree Service. The bureau said several questions on its forms were left blank that are used to determine if a duplicate policy exists. The case was forwarded to the bureau's Special Investigations Department.

Through audits and interviews, the bureau said investigators determined Rob's Tree Service had been in operation from at least April 23, 2013, to Sept. 30, 2015, and that Matusiak again applied for workers' compensation coverage but with deceptive information.

Kimbler also sentenced Matusiak to three years of community control sanctions, a type of probation.

Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or hheironimus@medina-gazette.com.

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