According to a report from the Insurance Journal, a business owner in California has been arrested and charged as part of a workers’ compensation fraud case. Notably, the company’s office compliance manager is also facing criminal workers’ compensation fraud charges. Within this article, our Fresno workers’ compensation defense law firm provides an overview of the allegations raised in this case.

The Allegations: Underreported Payroll, Denial of Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Bobby Levell Gilbert Jr. of Santa Ana, owner of B&J Tree Service, faces 96 felony charges for a wide range of workplace violations, including workers’ compensation fraud. California prosecutors contend that Mr. Gilbert and his office manager—Bertha Sanchez of Anaheim—dramatically underreported company payroll. As a result, B&J Tree Service paid nearly $250,000.00 less in workers’ compensation premiums to insurers than was actually owed. In addition, prosecutors contend that several employees of the company were improperly denied their workers’ compensation benefits. The criminal case is being prosecuted in Orange County, California.

Employers Must Accurately Report Payroll to Workers’ Compensation Insurers

In California, it is essential for all employers to report their full and accurate payroll details to workers’ compensation insurers. Proper and accurate payroll reporting ensures that employee coverage is correct.

By law in California, employers have a legal responsibility to provide no-fault workers’ compensation coverage to their employees. Beyond that, the law holds that payroll figures reported to insurers must be precise. Underreporting leads to incorrect workers’ compensation premium calculations.

To be clear. An employer that does not accurately report payroll is making more than just a mistake: They could even be committing a serious criminal offense. Deliberate misreporting to insurers is a crime in California and it is taken very seriously by state prosecutors.

Underreported Payroll is One of the Most Common Workers’ Compensation Fraud Charges

Workers’ compensation fraud remains an area of high priority for regulators in California. Notably, state officials believe that the underreporting of payroll by employers is a widespread issue and that it ranks as one of the most frequent forms of workers’ compensation fraud.

When employers report lower payroll numbers than actual, they pay less for their workers’ compensation insurance. It is an unlawful way to cut costs, and it is illegal. It means that workers may not get the full benefits they are entitled to if they are injured on the job.

The state treats these cases seriously. They undermine the workers’ compensation system. Authorities actively investigate and pursue charges against businesses that intentionally hide the true size of their payroll to avoid higher premiums. Underreported payroll could lead to felony charges.

Contact Our Fresno, CA Workers’ Compensation Defense Law Firm Today

At Yrulegui & Roberts, we are a solutions-driven workers’ compensation defense law firm that is focused on protecting the best interests of clients. We regularly work with employers, insurers, and claims administrators. Contact us today to arrange your fully confidential consultation. From our Fresno law office, we are well-positioned to handle workers’ compensation matters throughout the wider area.