Norma Lopez Cedillo, the President of Nuvo Contractor, Inc., was arrested for committing workers’ compensation fraud last week. Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announced Cedillo’s arrest on August 13th, 2019, stating that Cedillo had been avoiding paying almost $737,000 in workers’ compensation insurance premiums for the previous six months. It is not yet known whether Cedillo has hired an attorney.
The company reported a profit of nearly $5.5 million in the last year, but claimed a payroll of only $103,000 on their workers’ compensation policy. The investigation against Cedillo by Patronis’ Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Fraud showed that she had concealed payroll information to avoid paying higher premiums.
According to the company’s financial records, Nuvo Contractor Inc. has made over $4 million in payrolls from multiple South Florida construction companies. By reporting a payroll of only $22,311, Cedillo eluded$737,000 in workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
The entire scheme was found out when the company’s workers’ compensation policy was aborted due to non-compliance six months after it was issued. Cedillo was checked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on August 9th, 2019; her charges include workers’ compensation fraud, organizing a scheme to defraud, and conspiring to commit grand theft above $100,000.
According to the Worker’s Compensation Act in Florida, the penalty for committing workers’ compensation fraud over $100,000 is up to 30 years in prison at worst and a $10,000 at best. For fraud under $100,000, the penalty is 15 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. Cedillo is facing up to 30 years in prison if she is found guilty in her upcoming trial.
Patronis, in a press release, stated: “workers’ compensation fraud puts employees at risk of being underinsured and drives up insurance rates statewide for honest, hard-working businesses.”
In the previous year alone, the CFO and his office have reported almost 400 arrests for workers compensation fraud. Regarding this, Patronis has stated, “my office is committed to tracking down scam artists, and I applaud the great work of our dedicated fraud detectives. I encourage businesses and individuals to report suspected insurance fraud to my website at FraudFreeFlorida.com”
Jimmy Patronis is the Florida Chief Financial Officer as well as the State Fire Marshal. He is an elected member of Florida’s cabinet and looks over the Department of Financial Services.
The Department of Financial Services works against insurance fraud while supporting state firefighters. The department also manages state funds, helping support economic growth for the citizens of Florida.
There have been many cases recently of workers’ compensation fraud in other states as well, including California and Ohio. Every workers’ compensation case is different and can be perpetuated by any employer or employee.
Worker’s compensation frauds cost billions of dollars to employers as well as insurance companies every year. As most of the insurance companies are owned by states, it ultimately comes out of taxpayers’ pocket.
If you or anyone you know is involved in worker’s compensation fraud or if you’ve been accused of worker’s compensation fraud, you should hire a lawyer. Contact us today to take the first step towards the best possible legal outcome for you.