In recent uninsured employer news, the owners of a northern California roofing company were arrested by law enforcement officials last week on a multitude of work comp fraud charges.
John A. and Camille A. are the proprietors of Hallmark Roofing based in Belmont, California. According to the officials with the California Department of Insurance (CDI), the couple engaged in a systematic pattern of fraudulent activity concerning employee payroll and work comp premiums.
Specifically, CDI investigators determined that from 2007 to 2011, Hallmark Roofing (acting through John A. and Camille A.) underreported several hundred thousand dollars in payroll and failed to pay $630,000 in work comp premiums. Furthermore, they found that the company failed to make an accurate report of employee wages to the state Employment Development Department from Jan 1, 2010 through Jan. 1, 2012.
CDI officials indicated that these unlawful activities gave Hallmark Roofing an unfair business advantage that enabled them to work in the so-called "underground economy." Specifically, they were able to routinely outbid their competitors who had higher costs due to their decision to comply with state law.
"Business owners who operate unfairly in the underground economy will be brought to justice," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones in a released statement. "I commend the excellent work of the investigators in this large-scale case and in our ongoing efforts to bring fairness to the bidding process."
Both John A. and Camille A. were arrested back on April 19 on $50,000 warrants and were released after posting bail the same day. The San Mateo District Attorney's Office has charged the couple with 24 counts of work comp fraud and five counts of tax evasion. If convicted, they could each be sent to prison for up to five years and fined more than $1 million.
The couple's arraignment is currently scheduled for May 22.
If you are an uninsured employer facing a real problem -- prospective fine, prosecution, an employee injury or litigation -- there are steps that can be taken to minimize the consequences. In these difficult circumstances, you may want to consider consulting with an experienced legal professional.
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense law ...
The San Mateo Daily Journal, "Couple hit with 29 felony charges" April 24, 2012