The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) announced 10 arrests following a multi-agency undercover workers’ compensation sting in Manatee County.
According to a statement from DIF, the 10 individuals allegedly advertised their ability to perform wide-ranging plumbing and electrical work without proper licenses or training, and without having workers’ compensation coverage to protect their employees in the event of an accident or injury.
During the two-day operation, DIF detectives, accompanied by logistical and tactical support from multiple agencies, established an undercover sting in an effort to stop the illegal practice. Detectives responded to public advertisements created by the defendants, requesting that they perform services at a specified location in Manatee County.
“This partnered operation serves as a reminder to all Floridians that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said CFO Jeff Atwater. “Consumers should ask questions, get all offers in writing and verify the credentials of every individual who may provide goods or services before any work begins.”
Those who were arrested include:
• Carmelo Montalvo
• Joseph V. Richard
• Mark W. Colvin
• Ernest J. LeBrecque
• Mitchell M. Torres
• John Goodman
• Rocki Fair II
• Scott H. Zimpel
• Brandon A. Jorquera
• Vadim Davydov
DIF said when individuals knowingly neglect the law, they create a liability risk for property owners and leave property owners responsible to cover medical costs if an uncovered worker is hurt on their property.
Multiple agencies contributed to the arrests of the individuals in the sting, including the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Palmetto Police Department, Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Compliance, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the Manatee County State Attorney’s Office and Manatee County Code Enforcement.
The 10 individuals arrested were booked into Manatee County Jail on charges of workers’ compensation fraud and unlicensed contracting, and if convicted, they can face up to 5 years in prison, more if found to be a repeat offender. These cases will be prosecuted by the Office of Manatee County State Attorney Ed Brodsky.
Source: Florida Department of Insurance Fraud
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