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California Man Charged with Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fraud

justice-2060093_1920-300x200Alan Amir Yousefi of Irvine, California, was arraigned on February 25 and has been charged with ten felony counts—including two counts of insurance fraud—for failing to procure workers’ compensation insurance for his clients.

Yousefi, age 31, who was operating as Vanak Insurance Services, targeted small businesses and contractors in Southern California. Yousefi’s clients believed they were paying for workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. An investigation by the California Department of Insurance shows that Yousefi issued fake certificates of coverage and kept the money for himself.

Yousefi allegedly stole $105,227.86 in insurance premiums from eight victims. According to the investigation, Yousefi used this money to pay for designer clothes, sports equipment, and gambling.

“California small businesses rely on their insurance agents’ integrity, and this agent broke the law and their trust,” said Ricardo Lara, the state’s Insurance Commissioner. “This agent allegedly issued fake insurance papers while pocketing the proceeds, putting businesses and contractors at risk.”

One of the construction companies that bought workers’ compensation insurance from the accused discovered the fraud when an employee was injured on the job and filed a claim. After suffering an expensive, uncovered loss, the company is now negotiating with the employee’s lawyers to reach a settlement.

Even though they believed they had coverage, several other businesses which fell victim to Yousefi now face increases in their workers’ compensation premiums because of the gap in their coverage. The Contractors State License Board even suspended the contractor’s license of one company because of the lack of workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

Yousefi faces ten felony counts including two counts of insurance fraud, two counts of forgery, and three counts of grand theft. As his crime involved a sum over $100,000, Yousefi also faces an enhanced sentence under California law which specifies harsh penalties for white-collar crime.

Recently, I have reported on cases of workers’ compensation fraud across the country. Earlier this year, I reported on the case of County Commissioner Bob Coleman in Georgia who were involved in a similar scheme to Yousefi’s. Together with his wife, Coleman issued fake workers’ compensation insurance certificates to ten companies while keeping the money for themselves. The Colemans are facing 15 felony counts and face mandatory prison time if convicted.

In California, meanwhile, David Bufano was sentenced to two years of probation and given a $10,000 fine after he was found guilty of failing to provide worker’s compensation coverage to the employees at his restaurant in the Bay Area. Selina Singh, CEO of Federal Solutions Group, in Northern California has been charged with multiple counts of workers’ compensation fraud after it was revealed her company provided insurance companies with false information and bribed employees not to report on-the-job injuries.

Yousefi surrendered to law enforcement and, after posting $100,000 bail, was released. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case, headed by Senior Deputy District Attorney Donde McCament. Yousefi’s pretrial hearing is scheduled for April 30 in Santa Ana’s Central Justice Center. If convicted, Yousefi could receive up to 10 years in state prison.

Florida Workers’ Compensation Fraud Defense Attorney

If you are involved in a worker’s compensation fraud investigation, then you should hire a lawyer. Contact us to set up a free initial consultation and work with one of Florida’s most experienced workers’ compensation fraud defense attorneys.

Sources

2019-03-10 Seven Defendants Arraigned for Insurance Fraud Over $100,000 in February

2019-02-22 Insurance Agent Who Allegedly Faked Insurance to Rob Small Businesses to be Arraigned on February 25