Between 2011 and 2013, John R. Cacaro, age 59, owned and operated Employers Choice Plus LLC, a payroll processing company. Employers Choice Plus also made workers’ compensation premium payments on behalf of their clients.
Cacaro’s company worked with over 100 companies. While the companies provided legitimate payroll reports, when reporting these companies’ payrolls to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), Cacaro understated them by millions of dollars. This resulted in BWC offering lower premiums for these companies. Cacaro, having collected the correct amount of money for the premiums from his client companies, pocketed the difference.
“Multiple businesses entrusted Mr. Cacaro with processing their payroll and remitting insurance premiums to our agency, and he broke that trust,” said Jim Wernecke, BWC’s director of the special investigations department.
Cacaro was put on trial earlier this year for money laundering and wire fraud once BWC and the IRS had discovered his scheme to defraud them. The total amount Cacaro underreported was $425,246.58. Cacaro pleaded guilty to the charges.
“John Cacaro lined his pockets with the hard-earned money of his clients and systematically defrauded the Ohio BWC. Now he is a convicted felon and must repay the stolen money,” said Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office.
Cacaro, of West Chester Township in south-eastern Ohio, used the money to live a luxurious lifestyle which included a second home in Naples, Florida—one of the wealthiest areas in the country—as well as a motor home.
Wire fraud is a crime with a maximum punishment of 20 years in federal prison. Money laundering is also a federal crime and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Michael Watson of the U.S. District Court for southern Ohio handed down the sentence last week. Cacaro was given six months in federal prison followed by house arrest for one year and supervised release for three. Not only was Cacaro fined $10,000, but he was also required to pay back the entirety of the money he stole.
“Anyone who cheats BWC to enrich themselves is driving up the cost of the whole system,” said Wernecke, “and that hurts all of us. It hurts employers who follow the law and play by the rules, and it hurts the injured workers who rely on us to help them get back to work and back to their lives as soon as safely possible.”
At his sentencing, Cacaro handed in a cashier’s check for $425,247 to cover the total cost of the amount he stole. He has also closed his business, Employers Choice Plus.
“Justice was served today,” said Wernecke last week. “I can’t thank our partners in this investigation enough, the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.”
When he leaves prison, Cacaro is expected to work for the car transportation business he owns.
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