July 30, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
61°F

Local attorney guilty of workers’ comp fraud

A local attorney has pleaded guilty to fraud and could face further action from the state’s disciplinary counsel.

Natalie F. Grubb, 54, pleaded guilty Jan. 28 in Franklin County Municipal Court and has paid nearly $15,000 in restitution.

According to a news release from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, Grubb employed a woman while at the same time representing her in a workers’ compensation case.

“As an attorney, Mrs. Grubb had to be well aware that she could not argue her client was unable to work while simultaneously serving as that client’s employer,” said Steve Buehrer, administrator and CEO of the bureau.

A bureau spokesperson said in the news release that information on the investigation was forwarded to the disciplinary counsel of the Ohio Supreme Court. The disciplinary counsel investigates grievances filed against attorneys and judges in the state.

Grievances that are found to have merit move through the disciplinary counsel process and eventually are put before the Ohio Supreme Court for final judgment on possible sanctions against the attorney.

When reached by phone at her Medina office, 437 W. Lafayette Road, Suite 260A, Grubb declined to comment.

According to a bureau spokesperson, the investigation began after someone reported an injured worker was working for her attorney while receiving disability benefits.

Investigators reported that the injured individual was working in Grubb’s legal office as an assistant.

Grubb had won the woman temporary total disability benefits after she was injured working as a truck driver.

The bureau accused Grubb and the woman of conspiring to hide her earnings so the benefits would continue. Investigators confirmed the injured worker’s employment in a statement from the worker and interviews with former employees.

According to the bureau spokesperson, Grubb denied the allegations and provided a false statement to investigators before she pleaded guilty Jan. 28 to a misdemeanor charge of complicity to commit workers’ compensation fraud.

Grubb paid $7,709 in restitution and $6,731 in investigative costs and a fine of $500 to the Franklin County Municipal Court.

According to her website, Grubb was admitted to the state bar in 1993 after receiving her law degree from Case Western University that year.

Grubb founded Grubb & Associates in 1993, specializing in employment and labor law, business law, personal injury and workers’ compensation.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.