Remember when you were a kid and you were rough-housing with friends? Your mom would probably tell you to calm down, and you probably protested saying that no one was going to get hurt. Your mom might have responded with something like: ”Oh sure…it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.” Rough-housing is a nice analogy to workers’ compensation fraud – there doesn’t seem like any harm in it until someone gets hurt. Unfortunately, that’s the case in today’s fraud from a story reported by the NCTimes.com.
According to the article, a California roofing contractor skimped on purchasing worker’s compensation from the State Compensation Insurance Fund. He bought the minimum policy, but failed to mention “that he employed subcontractors, paid workers in cash, hired unlicensed employees and leased employees from other companies.” (My bad.) The article noted that in 2003, one of his employees “was injured when he fell off a roof.” When the employee filed for workers’ compensation, the contractor “denied the employee worked for him, causing the claim to be rejected.” (So, a guy working for a roofing contractor falls off a roof and the contractor doesn’t help him out? That can’t be good karma.) To make matters worse, in 2004 and 2005, he “filed documents stating falsely that he had no employees, making him exempt from securing workers’ compensation insurance.”
Now, the law has caught up with him. As part of a plea agreement, a judge sentenced him to one year in jail and fined him $510,000 “for failing to meet employee insurance requirements.” As part of the plea agreement, the contractor admitted to “16 felony counts, including perjury, forging documents, making fraudulent statements and evading taxes.” (I vote for more jail time.)
So, the roofing contractor in this case won’t be seeing the sky anytime soon. He’ll be looking at bars. Maybe when he’s sprung he’ll have to get a job as a roofer under another contractor. How much do you want to bet he hopes his new boss has workers’ compensation?