California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi announced that a Landers roofing contractor has pled guilty to workers’ compensation premium fraud and other charges. Michael Louis Curran, 50, pled guilty on June 8, 2005 to one felony count of making material misrepresentations to the State Compensation Insurance Fund in order to obtain workers’ compensation insurance for his workers at less than the proper rate and one felony count of intent to evade taxes to the Employment Development Department.
The investigation revealed that Curran, doing business as Curran Roofing, while working on a roofing project in Indio, made material misrepresentations to SCIF to obtain the lower premiums by intentionally misclassifying his workers’ job classifications in intentionally failing to disclose his total payroll. This resulted in lost workers’ compensation premiums of approximately $60,000 to SCIF. Working in conjunction with the Employment Development Department, the investigation also revealed that Curran also failed to report and pay employment taxes to EDD in the amount of $6,000.
“Intentionally misclassifying his employees gave Mr. Curran an unfair advantage over his competitors,” said Commissioner Garamendi. “By cheating the system, Mr. Curran was able to obtain lower premiums and potentially undercut the bids of other honest roofers. In the end, it’s simply not worth the risk, nor the jail time to commit workers’ comp fraud.”
As a result of the guilty plea, Curran was placed on formal probation for 36 months, ordered to pay $60,000 in restitution to SCIF, $6,000 in restitution to EDD, and spend 240 days in county jail. He was also ordered to violate no workers’ compensation, Labor or Employment Tax Laws. The investigation was conducted by the Fraud Division of the California Department of Insurance. The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office successfully prosecuted this case.
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