Security Code 3 Inc. owner Troy Carson, 55, of San Jose, was arrested by California Department of Insurance detectives for allegedly underreporting payroll by more than $12 million in an attempt to secure a lower workers’ compensation rate under false pretenses and cheating his insurer out of more than $3.2 million.
Victoria Cruz, 46, Lanette Wiegand, 46, both from San Jose and Jaime Lugo, 60, of La Crescenta also face charges in connection with the fraud scheme. In total, the four are charged with 18 felony counts of workers’ comp insurance premium fraud.
According to detectives, the investigation began after irregularities surfaced regarding how the company reported and handled employee injuries, including allegations that employees were dissuaded from reporting on-the-job injuries. Evidence revealed a complex scheme was hatched because the number of employee injuries led an increase in the company’s workers’ comp premiums.
Investigators allege Carson formed a new company called SC3 DVBE Security Services Inc. and then underreported the payroll and number of employees to their insurance company, which reduced their workers’ comp insurance premiums under false pretenses. Evidence also revealed their insurance broker, Jaime Lugo, was allegedly aware of the scheme to create a new company to secure a more favorable workers’ comp rate and wrote a new policy for SC3 DVBE Security. As a result of the alleged fraud, the insurer was cheated out of $3.2 million in premiums.
Carson operated two security companies, Security Code 3 and SC3 DVBE Security Services Inc., when in fact they functioned as one company. An investigation revealed that over a six-year period, Wiegand and Cruz, as part of the management team, submitted payroll and insurance premium payments for the 500-employee company.
“California consumers and businesses pay the price for insurance fraud through higher premiums and increased costs for goods and services,” Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement. “When business owners cheat the system by operating in the underground economy, they create an unfair advantage that puts legitimate businesses at risk.”
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