Four individuals from a Highland, California business called Team Drywall were taken into custody last week in a $290,466 workers’ compensation premium fraud case that was investigated by the California Department of Insurance Fraud Division (CDI).
Co-owners Dave Snodgrass, 47, Riverside, Thomas Roger, 49, Lake Havasu, Arizona, vice president Terry Whitener, 41, Highland, and office manager Jovita Guillen, 53, Grand Terrace, were arrested. The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.
All suspects were arrested by authorities except Roger, who self-surrendered after he was notified of the arrest warrant. The group is charged with multiple counts of workers’ comp premium fraud and grand theft. Each suspect faces a maximum of five years in state prison and/or a $50,000 fine if found guilty on all counts.
“This case is yet another illustration of how fraud drives up costs and threatens to cripple the workers’ compensation system,” said Commissioner Garamendi. “California’s businesses need workers’ comp relief, but breaking the law is not the answer.”
The CDI investigation revealed that Roger and Snodgrass had workers’ comp policies with Insurance Company of the West, Redlands Insurance Company, and State Compensation Insurance Fund from July 1999 through Jan. 2001. It is alleged that during this time the duo misclassified their employees’ wages and altered timecards to reduce the amount of hours worked. These tactics allowed them to find lower premiums for the coverage.
Evidence seized during the investigation indicates that Whitener was allegedly involved in the misclassification, and that Guillen allegedly signed the payroll reports submitted to the various insurance carriers despite knowing that they were fraudulent.
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