Fairfield chiropractor pleads guilty to worker's comp fraud

FAIRFIELD, OH (FOX19) - A Fairfield chiropractor has pleaded guilty to workers' compensation fraud in a case that already resulted in charges against four additional employees of the Back and Spine Center.

Dr. Gary T. Berner accepted the plea to avoid an impending trial stemming from an investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation Special Investigations Department and Attorney General Mike DeWine's office.

Berner was indicted in July 2010 for his role in a scheme that allowed his colleague, Dr. Bruce E. Holaday, to continue billing BWC after being banned from treating injured workers.

BWC SID initiated an investigation after receiving an allegation that Holaday was concealing from BWC his direct involvement in the treatment of injured workers. Holaday was previously decertified as a BWC health care provider, prohibiting him from seeking and receiving reimbursement from BWC.  Investigators found Berner knowingly allowed Holaday to use his name and provider identification number to unlawfully bill BWC for treatment Holaday personally rendered or directed.

Holaday was indicted on one count each of workers' compensation fraud and theft, felonies of the third degree; thirty-two counts of forgery, each fifth-degree felonies; and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (racketeering), a first-degree felony.  His trial is set for March 29.  The three other clinic employees have been convicted of fraud as part of the investigation.

As part of his plea, Berner agreed to pay $104,000 in restitution and $5,000 investigative costs.  His sentencing is scheduled for April 21.

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