Florida’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announced the arrest of Carlos Alberto Gomez-Ibarra last week for allegedly evading paying almost $74,000 in workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
Gomez-Ibarra was charged with workers’ compensation premium fraud. The press did not name an attorney for him.
According to the Bureau of Investigative and Forensic Services, Gomez-Ibarra is the owner of Always Good Construction in Miami. He is accused of concealing payroll information for almost a year to avoid paying higher workers’ compensation premiums.
Between October 2015 and August 2016, Gomez-Ibarra allegedly reported an annual estimated remuneration of $92,400 in payroll on his company’s workers’ compensation insurance policy for four workers. This coverage was estimated to cost over $15,000. However, investigators learned that the company had allegedly conducted more than $442,000 in payroll during that period, which means Gomez-Ibarra evaded paying almost $74,000 in insurance premiums.
“I cannot emphasize the importance of providing the proper coverage for your employees. Knowingly evading the payment of workers’ compensation to save a few dollars on your policy is a serious crime that puts injured workers at risk and drives up insurance rates statewide for honest, hard-working businesses.,” CFO Patronis said in a press release. “I applaud the great work of our dedicated insurance fraud detectives and encourage anyone that suspects insurance fraud to report it to FraudFreeFlorida.com.”
Gomez-Ibarra was booked into Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on March 4. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison. It is not clear what caused the alleged fraud to come to light; such cases often emerge due to a claim being filed or due to investigations by anti-fraud law enforcement.
All Florida businesses with more than four employees are required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance. Construction companies are the only exception—they are required to have coverage for every employee because construction work has more injuries and fatalities than other business types.
By mandating workers’ comp insurance, the state provides an incentive for businesses to keep workers safe and reduce the risk of lawsuits against business owners.
Construction companies can get in trouble when they under-report their employee payroll, number of workers, worker risk classifications, and/or claim history. By under-reporting this information while applying for insurance, construction contractors can minimize the cost of their coverage. However, accurately representing this information is more than a matter of probity; it becomes immediately apparent to the state if there’s a misrepresentation once a claim is made, especially if it involves serious injury or death.
Businesses that operate without the proper coverage risk civil and criminal penalties. If your business is being investigated by the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud or Department of Financial Services for workers’ compensation fraud, then you should immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to discuss your rights and what you need to do in order to protect yourself against fraud allegations.
Miami Workers’ Compensation Fraud Attorney
Are you a business owner accused of workers’ compensation fraud? Contact Brian Silber, P.A. for a free initial consultation with one of Miami’s most experienced workers’ compensation fraud defense attorneys.