Accountant Charged With $10 Million in Construction Workers’ Compensation Fraud

May 9, 2023
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Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Jr. announced two indictments of a certified public accountant for defrauding the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF) of more than $10 million in workers’ compensation insurance premium payments.

Accountant Steve Lyon Lyon was charged with several counts of insurance fraud in a New York State Supreme Court indictment. Lyon is accused of filing doctored payroll-related documents for workers of façade restoration and scaffolding companies.

According to court documents and statements in court, Lyon engaged in a scheme with Anaar Construction & Contracting Corp. and its owner Sadaf Bhatti, Anaar, a Fresh Meadows-based masonry subcontractor specializing in building façade repairs and waterproofing, and Bhatti utilized Lyon to complete the firm’s premium audits. Though the company had a privately retained tax accountant, Lyon acted as the company’s representative during NYSIF’s mandatory annual audits.

As alleged, from March 10, 2018, to March 10, 2020, Lyon filed payroll-related documents with the Department of Labor and NYSIF, the state’s largest workers’ compensation provider. The filings with NYSIF drastically reduced the size of Anaar’s workforce and payroll. NYSIF relied on these false documents to calculate the company’s workers’ compensation insurance premiums, grossly under-charging the company as a result. Over the course of the scheme, Anaar underreported its payroll by more than $4.5 million and underpaid NYSIF by more than $1.4 million.

Lyon is also charged in a separate indictment for running a similar scheme for two Long Island City-based companies, DNA Contracting LLC., and Spring Safe & Sound Inc. As alleged, from January 1, 2019, to March 1, 2022, Lyon misrepresented the total workforce and payroll for both companies during quarterly filings thereby defrauding NYSIF of more than $9.4 million.

In January, Lyon was arraigned in New York State Supreme Court for similarly defrauding NYSIF. Defendants in that case — OneTeam Restoration Inc., a Long Island City-based masonry subcontractor, and its owner Mario Rojas, Jr. — each pleaded guilty to falsifying business records and were sentenced to three-year conditional discharges. The case against Lyon remains open and pending.

Source: Manhattan District Attorney’s Office

Topics Workers' Compensation Fraud New York Talent Construction

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