The New York State Inspector General announced the arraignments of two construction contractors for allegedly putting their workers at risk by not providing them with workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
Segundo Loja and Robert A. Lutz were arraigned in Saratoga Springs City Court on February 6. According to court documents, Loja, who is the owner of NY Power Construction Corporation, allegedly submitted a fake certificate of insurance that showed his company had obtained both workers’ compensation and commercial general liability insurance coverage as required by law for any company with employees.
The inspector general confirmed with the insurer that Loja’s business, which had several employees, didn’t have insurance coverage. Loja was charged with falsifying business records, failure to secure compensation, and fraudulent practices.
Lutz, who is a Ballston Spa resident and owner of Robert’s Roofing & Remodeling, was charged after the inspector general discovered he lied about having no employees in July 2019 when he submitted a building permit application for a residential roofing job in Saratoga Springs.
Multiple witnesses allegedly observed three individuals working on Lutz’s roofing project. None of the workers had the legally required workers’ compensation coverage, according to reports. Lutz was charged with offering a false instrument for filing, fraudulent practices, and failure to secure compensation in connection to the discovery.
“Workers’ compensation insurance provides critical protections to safeguard both the business and the worker,” Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro said. “Companies that disregard this important legal requirement put their employees at severe financial risk—especially in the construction fields. I thank our law enforcement partners for their ongoing support to ensure that contractors put the necessary protections in place for their employees.”
In her announcement, Tagliafierro thanked the police in Saratoga Springs, the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office, and the New York State Department of Labor for assisting in the two investigations.
Another case of workers’ compensation insurance fraud was reported in Florida last week. Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced the arrest of Santos Y. Cardona for fraudulently evading almost $200k in workers’ comp insurance premiums.
Cardona was arrested on February 5 and charged with workers’ compensation fraud and scheme to defraud. The press did not name an attorney for him.
According to court filings, Cardona, who is the owner YYCS Enterprises, allegedly reported a payroll of only $59,000 when in reality he had paid his workers over $1 million. The Bureau of Insurance Fraud learned about the discrepancy after looking through the records of a check cashing store in Fort Myers; it estimates that Cardona’s company avoided paying $199,515 in insurance premiums.
“Workers’ compensation fraud is a serious crime that puts injured workers at risk and drives up insurance rates statewide for honest, hard-working businesses,” Patronis said. “My office is committed to cracking down on fraud. I applaud the great work of our dedicated insurance fraud detectives.”
Both New York and Florida require construction contractors to obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage for every worker because of the high risk of injury in the industry. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines and serious 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.