Contractor Sentenced in Workers’ Compensation Fraud Case in Simi Valley, California

According to a report from Hoodline, a contractor in Simi Valley was sentenced as part of a workers’ compensation fraud case. Mauricio Torres—the owner of a company called Vero’s Tree Service—was sentenced to one year of probation, fined $10,000.00, and ordered to pay financial restitution for knowingly failing to obtain mandatory workers’ compensation insurance coverage. It is a stark reminder that uninsured employers can face serious penalties in California. Here, our Sacramento workers’ compensation defense law firm provides a more detailed account of the allegations and the issues raised in the case.

Workers’ Compensation Fraud Case: Business Owner Sentenced

Vero’s Tree Service—owned and operated by Mauricio Torres—provides tree trimming services in Southern California. Mr. Torres was recently sentenced to one year of probation, fined $10,000.00, and also required to pay approximately $10,000.00 in financial restitution as part of a workers’ compensation fraud case. Mr. Torres reportedly failed to obtain the proper workers’ compensation coverage for his employees. He did not report accurate payroll information to his insurance provider. The issue was uncovered by the State Compensation Insurance Fund after a worker who was hurt on the job sought benefits. The case was prosecuted by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.

Contractors Must Obtain Workers’ Compensation Coverage and Properly Report their Payroll

Every employer in California needs to purchase and keep the proper workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Small business contractors are certainly no exception. A company that has employees has a legal duty to obtain workers’ compensation coverage for them. Failing to follow these regulations can lead to severe penalties, as seen in the case of a Simi Valley contractor. Notably, companies must also be sure to properly report their total payroll. In California, the intentional or negligent underreporting of payroll can result in a criminal workers’ compensation charge.

Uninsured Employers Can Face a Wide Range of Penalties

There are serious risks associated with operating as an uninsured employer in California. An employer that is discovered to be uninsured can:

  • Face a lawsuit from an injured employee;
  • Be fined by California state regulators;
  • Face higher workers’ compensation rates in the future;
  • Have a business license suspended; and
  • Face criminal charges (owner of business).

Workers’ Compensation Fraud Can Be a Felony Criminal Offense

Insurance fraud is no small matter in California. A workers’ compensation fraud charge can result in a felony criminal offense. Indeed, a business owner who knowingly underreports payroll to an insurance company for the purpose of fraudulently reducing his or her workers’ compensation cost can be charged with a felony offense that carries significant jail time. 

Contact Our California Workers’ Compensation Defense Lawyer Today

At Yrulegui & Roberts, our Sacramento workers’ compensation defense attorneys are skilled, reliable, and justice-focused advocates for employers, insurance companies, and claims administrators. Contact our workers’ compensation defense law firm today to set up a strictly private consultation. From our Sacramento law office, we handle workers’ compensation defense matters throughout Central California.