According to reporting from the Insurance Journal, an insurance agent in California has been arrested and charged with multiple serious felony criminal offenses for allegedly stealing the workers’ compensation premiums paid by several small businesses. Erin Lee McCarroll of Laguna Beach, CA, was arraigned on 27 criminal counts, including grand theft charges, in the workers’ compensation fraud case. Here, our Central California workers’ compensation defense attorney provides a more comprehensive overview of the allegations raised in this case.
The Allegations: Insurance Agent Stole Workers’ Compensation Premiums from Small Businesses
An insurance agent is facing serious criminal charges in Southern California for allegedly taking the workers’ compensation premium payments of small business owners. Erin Lee McCarroll—who worked as an insurance agent in Orange County—is facing more than two dozen felony charges for allegedly stealing in excess of $60,000.00 worth of workers’ compensation premiums from ten small businesses.
The case is being actively investigated by the California Department of Insurance (CDI). The agency alleges that Ms. McCarroll simply pocketed the money that was meant for workers’ compensation insurance policies. To conceal the fraud, she allegedly issued the businesses fake insurance certificates. The workers’ compensation fraud purportedly occurred between 2017 and 2019.
Note: The charges are currently pending, and the criminal case is being prosecuted in Orange County.
Employers in California are Required to Get No-Fault Workers’ Compensation for Employees
In California, employers must secure no-fault workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. To be clear, it is mandatory coverage that ensures workers are protected and can receive benefits for job-related injuries and job-related illnesses, no matter who is at fault for the incident. In this case, the employers believed that they had obtained valid workers’ compensation coverage. Instead, they merely had phony insurance certificates.
Workers’ Compensation Premiums Represent a Significant Expense for Small Businesses
Workers’ compensation is a grand bargain in California. It is a system that is designed to provide some much-needed protection and certainty to both employers and employees. At the same time. workers’ compensation insurance premiums can be a substantial financial burden for small businesses. Indeed, these premiums can represent a significant portion of their overall operating costs.
The amount varies by industry risk, payroll size, and claims history. These costs affect a small business’s bottom line and can influence hiring decisions, as increasing staff often means higher premiums. Affordable coverage is crucial for the viability and growth of small businesses. Of course, it is also imperative that businesses get the coverage that they are paying for from insurance agents.
Contact Our California Workers’ Compensation Defense Lawyer for Help
At Yrulegui & Roberts, our California workers’ compensation defense attorneys are standing by, ready to help you determine the right course of action. Results-driven legal representation can make a difference. Contact us today to set up a confidential initial appointment. We serve WCAB locations throughout the region, including in Fresno, Stockton, Sacramento, and Bakersfield.