On October 11, 2022, the California Department of Insurance announced that the Central Valley Workers’ Compensation Fraud Task Force has uncovered a multi-million dollar workers’ compensation fraud scheme in Fresno. A husband, wife, and their daughter (Karamjit Nijjar, Rajinder Kaur Nijjar, and Mandip Nijjar) were arraigned on felony workers’ compensation fraud charges for allegedly underreporting their company’s payroll by approximately $2.5 million to defraud the workers’ compensation system. Within this article, our Fresno workers’ compensation lawyer explains the key things to know about the workers’ compensation fraud allegations against the Fresno business owners.
Workers’ Compensation Fraud Allegations: Fresno Business Owners Underreported Payroll
The California Department of Insurance reports that the Central Valley Workers’ Compensation Fraud Task launched an investigation into a Fresno, CA-based trucking company owned and operated by Karamjit Nijjar, his wife, and his daughter after receiving a tip. The business is called Renteria Trucking. The tip in question purported that an employee at the company was improperly refused an opportunity to seek workers’ compensation benefits for a job-related injury.
The investigation reportedly revealed that Renteria Trucking had not properly reported its payroll. More specifically, California authorities allege that the Fresno-based trucking company reported around $2.4 million in payroll for a given time period when it actually had more than $5 million in total payroll. As a consequence of the alleged willful violation, the Fresno trucking business is alleged to have underpaid its workers’ compensation premiums by more than $350,000.00.
Workers’ Compensation Fraud Remains a Serious Issue in California—Regulators Cracking Down
Every employer in California is required to obtain no-fault workers’ compensation insurance for full-time and part-time employees. Workers’ compensation rates (premiums) are determined based on a number of different factors, including the total payroll of the business. Companies are legally required to accurately report their number of employees and their total payroll costs. Their failure to do so could constitute workers’ compensation fraud.
California authorities aggressively investigate allegations of workers’ compensation fraud—which is widely believed to be a billion-dollar problem in the state. The penalties for workers’ compensation fraud are severe. Violators may face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and/or several years in prison. Workers’ compensation fraud is a “wobbler” offense in California, meaning that the prosecutor has discretion in deciding how to charge the case—as either a felony or a misdemeanor. That being said, felony charges are often pursued in cases in which business owners are suspected of intentionally underreporting their payroll with the intent to reduce workers’ compensation premiums.
Set Up a Confidential Consultation With Our Fresno, CA Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorney
At Yrulegui & Roberts, our Fresno, CA workers’ compensation defense attorneys have the skills and legal experience to handle a wide range of workers’ compensation fraud matters. Contact us right away to arrange a completely confidential initial legal consultation. With a law office in Fresno, we provide workers’ compensation defense services in the San Joaquin Valley and throughout Central California.