Everything is Bigger in Texas

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So they say “everything is bigger in Texas,” but did you know that:

  • Texas’ total area is twice the size of Germany.
  • If Texas was its own country, it would have the 13th highest GDP in the world.
  • The King Ranch in Texas is bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island.
  • Texas has enough crude oil reserves to fill up almost 1,459 Empire State Buildings.
  • The total weight of catfish consumed in Texas annually is more than the weight of 6.5 Eiffel Towers. (Just thought I’d throw that in there, that’s a lot of fish.)

Want to know what else is big in Texas? A Pflugerville, Texas landscape company’s Workers’ Compensation fraud scheme. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, from 2009 to 2015, the landscaping company concealed its payroll associated with a related company that didn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, resulting in a lower workers’ compensation premium. The scam defrauded Texas Mutual Insurance Co., the insurance carrier who held the workers’ compensation policy.

As background, premiums assigned for workers’ compensation insurance are based on an employer’s payroll, job classification codes and the employer’s past losses. (These are used to estimate future losses, which can’t be done properly without the correct information.) Companies that intentionally misrepresent one or more of these factors with the purpose of securing lower premium rates are participating in Workers’ Compensation fraud. (That’s exactly what this company was doing.)

Under a plea deal in a Travis County District Court, the landscape company was ordered to pay $400,000 to Texas Mutual Insurance Co. (At least they were able to re-coup some of their money.)

In an announcement about the closing of this case, Tim Riley, deputy commissioner of Compliance and Investigations for the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation’s (DWC) (they are the ones who got the conviction), said “When dishonest companies commit premium or payroll fraud, they can put their employee’s coverage at risk. It’s also a way dishonest businesses can gain a business advantage over ethical companies that are paying the full cost of their premiums.”

Hopefully convictions like this will make sure that fraud is not one of the bigger things in Texas.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Texas Landscaper Must Pay $400K in Workers’ Comp Fraud Case,” published by Insurance Journal on April 3, 2018.

A Pflugerville, Texas, landscape company pleaded guilty March 21 to misrepresenting its payroll so it could pay less for workers’ compensation coverage, according to the Texas Department of Insurance.

Jammers Groundscapes entered the plea in a Travis County District Court and was ordered to pay $400,000 to Texas Mutual Insurance Co., the workers’ compensation carrier. The conviction resulted from a Texas Mutual investigation.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.