The owner of a Florida construction company has been arrested for allegedly obtaining a fraudulent workers’ compensation policy by underreporting the number of staff he employed, the company’s annual payroll amount and the company’s scope of work.
According to a statement from Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and the Department of Financial Services (DFS) Carlos Contreras, owner of DJC Builders & Construction was arrested last month after providing false information on his insurance application and illegally avoiding paying more than $ million in premium payments for an adequate policy.
Contreras allegedly claimed his company’s annual payroll was $273,786, and thus was quoted an annual workers’ compensation policy premium of $25,311. However, between January and August 2017, DFS investigators determined that Contreras cashed at least 620 payroll checks for DJC Builders & Construction. In total, nearly $6.5 million in payroll was cashed using various money service businesses located across the state. DFS said if Contreras had accurately reported the company’s total payroll, number of employees and correct work description, the company’s proper workers’ compensation premium would have been more than $1.2 million.
Contreras was arrested on Oct. 19 and transported to the Duval County jail. He has been charged with one count of knowingly concealing payroll and one count of scheme to defraud.
The case will be prosecuted by the Duval County State Attorney’s Office and if convicted, Contreras could face up to 60 years in prison.
“When companies lie to obtain cheaper, inadequate workers’ compensation policies, staff or property owners are left vulnerable to covering sky-high medical costs if a worker gets injured on the job, and free markets are disrupted by scammers who can underbid their legitimate competitors,” Patronis said.
Source: Florida Department of Financial Services