Florida Business Owner Accused of Stealing $1M in Workers’ Comp Scheme

Owner of a Fort Myers, Fla., staffing and payroll services firm was arrested in mid-July over the alleged theft of more than $1 million, according to a statement from Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and the Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) Division of Investigative and Forensic Services (DIFS).

The arrest of Ivan Hernandez, owner of Global Staffing / Professional Staffing and Payroll Services in was announced July 22. Hernandez is accused of running a criminal enterprise by claiming to provide workers’ compensation insurance and payroll services to his clients but instead of providing those services, Hernandez allegedly provided fictitious policies and pocketed his client’s payments. As a result, Hernandez is being held responsible for the theft of more than $1 million.

An investigation by DIFS’ Bureau of Insurance Fraud and the Department’s Division of Workers’ Compensation Bureau of Compliance revealed that in August 2013 Hernandez obtained a workers’ compensation insurance policy for his company, Global Staffing Services, LLC. The policy accounted for two employees, an estimated $51,000.00 payroll and listed Hernandez’s company as a staffing company that provided employee recruiting services.

When obtaining the policy, Hernandez stated Global Staffing Services was a staffing company that provided employee recruiting services for various companies but would not directly hire or offer any long-term or short-term staffing services.

The investigation went on to reveal Hernandez changed Global Staffing Service’s name to Professional Staffing and Payroll Services in March 2015 but continued to carry the company’s previous workers’ compensation policy. Professional Staffing and Payroll Services was found to have entered into numerous contracts with various companies and directly provided staffing services, payroll services, and workers’ compensation coverage for those clients. Hernandez’s company would then allegedly charge a premium amounting to a percent of the client company’s weekly payroll. By doing so, Hernandez’s company was in violation of the underwriting requirements established in his original workers’ compensation policy.

In addition, Hernandez was found to have been pocketing his client’s payments and using the money for his own personal use. Hernandez provided fraudulent Certificate of Insurance documents to approximately 58 companies with over 300 employees all in an effort to further conceal his actions. As a result of his alleged fraudulent conduct, Hernandez stole approximately $1,035,662.00 from his clients.

Hernandez was arrested July 13, 2016 and transported to Lee County Jail. His charges include various counts of a scheme to defraud, aggravated white collar crime, RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), and money laundering over $100,000. Additional charges may be brought forth.

This case will be prosecuted by the Office of State Attorney Stephen B. Russell, 20th Judicial Circuit. If convicted, Hernandez could face more than 25 years in prison.

Source: Florida Department of Financial Services