Joel Trujillo was arrested on charges of violating a stop work order and a third-degree felony workers’ compensation fraud for allegedly failing to provide adequate coverage to employees of his Naples-based constriction company, K.C. Tile and Marble, according to an announcement by CFO Jeff Atwater. The fraud was discovered when two employees of Trujillo were struck by lightning, killing one, and neither the surviving employee nor the family of the deceased received the appropriate workers’ compensation benefits.
“This tragedy is an example of why it is so important for companies to make sure their employees are covered by workers compensation insurance,” said CFO Atwater. “Ignoring the workers compensation law is not only criminal, it creates significant hardships for families that suffer from not only the loss or injury of a loved one, but also from the financial losses due to medical bills and missed work.”
On June 26, 2013, K.C. Tile and Marble employees Jose Kenn Alexi Cruz Villamar and Robert Wiley were struck by lightning while working at a construction site located at 1365 47th Ave NE, Naples, Florida. Wiley died as a result of his injuries.
Because Wiley’s employer did not hold workers’ compensation coverage, his family was not afforded death benefits potentially allowable under by workers’ compensation insurance. Death benefits may have included funeral expenses up to $7,500, compensation to dependents, as defined by law and educational benefits to the surviving spouse. Benefits are payable up to a maximum total of $150,000.
A workers’ compensation compliance investigator discovered that K.C. Tile failed to secure workers’ compensation insurance coverage, as required by Florida Statute, while Wiley and Villamar were working for the company. For failing to comply with the law, K.C. Tile and Marble was served with a Stop-Work Order by the Florida Division of Worker’s Compensation Compliance for violation of Florida Statute Chapter 440. When Trujillo was arrested, his business was found to be in violation of this stop work order.
Trujillo was booked into the Collier County Jail and if convicted faces up to ten years in prison.
Source: Department of Financial Services