Columbus – Brown County received $137,007.57 this week in restitution from Van Workman, a third party administrator, who has been charged with defrauding the county and its employees of their health insurance payments.
Workman was indicted Feb. 2 under Ohio’s “RICO” law by the Brown County Grand Jury. The case is being prosecuted by a special prosecutor from the office of Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“Budgets are tight everywhere, and governments need every dollar to which they are entitled,” Auditor Yost said. “Now, because of good work by alert investigators, the county has recovered what it is owed.”
Yost commended Brown County Prosecutor Jessica Little and Special Prosecutor Robert Smith, deputy legal counsel for the Auditor of State’s office, for their commitment to recovering the lost funds.
Workman is scheduled July 25 to enter a change of plea in the Brown County Court of Common Pleas.
The indictments charged that Workman and his daughter Michelle Dinsmore, as owners and operators of Employer Benefits Services of Ohio, Inc. (EBS), diverted health insurance payments to pay company expenses by transferring money into the company’s operating accounts from the proper escrow accounts.
The theft was discovered when healthcare providers notified Brown County they had not been paid for medical bills for which Brown County had already issued payment to EBS.
Employers that self-insure use third party administrators (TPA) to manage employer and employee health insurance payments and also make payments to healthcare providers. Ohio law provides that money paid to the TPA is held in trust as a fiduciary duty and is considered the property of the employers and beneficiaries. Such payments are held in escrow accounts. Fees paid to the TPA for its services are maintained in separate operating accounts, and insurance law prohibits commingling the two.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,600 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.