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Cleveland convict adds work comp fraud to criminal record

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It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to crack the case — just a crack claims staff at the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.

A Cleveland-based garbage hauler and construction worker serving time in a federal prison for fraud, money laundering and violating the Clean Air Act also pleaded guilty to workers compensation fraud last week, the bureau said Friday in a statement.

On Nov. 22, Christopher Gattarello pleaded guilty to a fifth-degree felony count of workers comp fraud. Mr. Gattarello was working as driver/heavy equipment operator while receiving temporary disability benefits from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, according to the statement.

In June, Mr. Gattarello, the owner of several Cleveland-area garbage-hauling companies, was sentenced to 57 months in prison for ordering the 2012 demolition of the asbestos-laden National Acme Building in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood, according to the statement.

“This was pretty easy detective work on our part, thanks to our customer claims staff. Every time our claims representatives telephoned Gattarello about his injury claim, they could hear construction noise in the background. We simply followed up from there,” Jim Wernecke, Cleveland-based director of BWC’s special investigations department, said in the statement.