Workers Compensation Fraud Case Costs Injured Carpenter $100KAugust 28, 2015
An injured Florida carpenter faces over $100,000 in medical bills due to alleged workers compensation fraud from his employer. Mike New was working on a house near Fort Myers when he fell off a scaffold. He broke several bones in the fall, including his sternum, a rib, and a vertebra in his neck. When he found out his workers compensation claim had been denied, he learned that his employer, Professional Staffing and Payroll Services LLC, had potentially committed workers compensation fraud by not submitting the payments to the insurance carrier.
Details of the Workers Compensation Fraud Case
The Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation posted a message on its website stating that it had issued a “stop-work” order on Professional Staffing. The order was issued when agency officials learned of the failure of Professional’s principal owner, Ivan Hernandez, to maintain his company’s workers compensation insurance premiums. Officials attempted to contact Mr. Hernandez, but have yet to reach him. Although he has not yet been charged with workers compensation fraud, he may yet face both criminal and civil proceedings for his actions.
Company in Workers Compensation Fraud Case Shuts Down
Local media reports showed that Professional Staffing had closed its doors in July. Mr. Hernandez has yet to be reached, either by state officials, local media, or his former employees. While the company handled payroll duties for more than 40 Florida firms, the only people covered by workers compensation insurance were two clerical employees. Forensic accountants for the state may be called on to explore the company’s books to determine the extent of any potential workers compensation fraud.
Workers Compensation Fraud and Employee Leasing
Island Coast Builders, the company that oversaw the construction project where Mr. New was injured, leased its employees through Professional Staffing. The leasing arrangement allowed the construction company to assign job duties, while the leasing company handled the payroll issues. Dan Gorton, the owner of the construction company, told local reporters that the arrangement included sending Professional a check for payroll pre-deductions, including workers compensation insurance. If Mr. Hernandez committed workers compensation fraud, Mr. Groton and his company may be eligible to file a workers compensation fraud lawsuit against him and Professional Staffing.
Is Workers Compensation Fraud A Major Problem?
The Florida Department of Workers Compensation issues stop-work orders when a company fails to pay its premiums or is suspected of committing workers compensation fraud. A local news report showed that the agency issued more than 2,700 stop-work orders in 2015 alone. The state’s Department of Financial Services maintains an online resource showing which employers are on the stop-work list. The page carries a disclaimer stating that the department “shall be held harmless against all claims, suits, judgments, and/or damages resulting from this disclosure of information, including all costs and fees.”
Source: Fort Myers News Press
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