William H. Foster III, who owns American Construction Group LTD, pleaded guilty on February 11 to a misdemeanor count of obstructing official business after failing to comply with the state’s Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC). He was ordered to follow the payment plan he made with the BWC to reinstate his policy. He reportedly owes BWC over $360,000 in past premiums and fines.
In a separate case, Miklos Fioretto and Paul Collier Jr. pleaded guilty on January 17 and February 5, respectively, to one count of workers’ compensation fraud for failing to maintain coverage for their company.
Investigators learned the pair renamed their company to avoid paying past premiums and penalties associated with the business. The two men were sentenced to three years of community service and are required to pay the BWC $458,125 in restitution as a condition of probation.
“These business owners learned the hard way they cannot operate their business without workers’ compensation coverage, and now they owe us hundreds of thousands of dollars,” BWC Administrator Stephanie McCloud said in a statement to the press. “I’m pleased our investigators stopped these employers from continuing to break the law and cheat our system.”
Workers’ compensation fraud charges against business owners aren’t uncommon. Earlier this month, the New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro announced the arraignments of two contractors for failing to acquire workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
Robert A. Lutz and Segundo Loja were arraigned in Saratoga Springs on February 6. Loja, who owns NY Power Construction Corporation, is accused of submitting a fake certificate of insurance that his business had obtained general liability and workers’ comp coverage as required by state law. Investigators learned that Loja’s company didn’t have coverage. He was charged with failure to secure compensation, falsifying business records, and fraudulent practices.
Lutz, who owns Robert’s Roofing & Remodeling, was charged after investigators discovered he had lied about having no employees in July last year when he submitted a permit application for a roofing job in Saratoga Springs. Several witnesses purportedly saw three employees working on the project, sources indicate. As a result of that discovery, Lutz was charged with failure to secure compensation, offering a false instrument for filing, and fraudulent practices.
Tagliafierro said in a prepared statement that business owners who disregard state law requiring workers’ compensation coverage put their workers at “severe financial risk,” and that coverage provides workers with critical protections in the event of an injury or death.
Both Ohio and New York require companies to obtain workers’ compensation coverage. Failure to do can result in fines and jail time.
South Florida Workers’ Compensation Fraud Attorney
Accused of workers’ compensation fraud? Contact Brian Silber, P.A. for a free initial consultation with one of South Florida’s most experienced workers’ compensation fraud defense attorneys.