Owner of N.Y. Bridge Painting Business Climbs the Ladder to Insurance Fraud

March 18, 2005

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, New York State Workers’ Compensation Board Fraud Inspector General John Burgher, Jr., State Insurance Fund Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Ross, and State Police Superintendent Wayne Bennett announced the guilty plea of a Williamsville man for reportedly stealing funds from the New York State Insurance Fund.

Leon Hatzipetros, 41, of Williamsville, co-owner of Marine Steel Painting Corp. (“Marine Steel”), located at 2064 Zoeller Road in the Town of Alden, entered a guilty plea before Erie County Court Justice Sheila DiTullio to Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree, a class “D” felony. Defendant will be sentenced on June 1, 2005 to a term of up to four years to be determined by the court. Additionally, he has paid full restitution of $145,367.68.

Marine Steel is a commercial bridge painting business that operates throughout the state. Between April 1, 1999, and April 1, 2003, Hatzipetros obtained workman’s compensation insurance coverage for employees of Marine Steel through the New York State Insurance Fund (“SIF”).

During that time, Hatzipetros submitted quarterly payroll tax returns containing false job classifications to the SIF. The false job classifications submitted by Hatzipetros reportedly enabled him to pay $145,367.68 less in premium payments than he otherwise would have been obligated to pay.

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