Fraud News: Arson, False Claim Scams, Workers’ Comp Scheme Busted

January 29, 2018

South Dakota Woman Sentenced for Role in Bar Arson Case

A Pollock, S.D., woman has been sentenced to serve two months behind bars for her role in a conspiracy to burn down a Herreid business.

Authorities say 21-year-old Cheyenne Wolski conspired with three others to burn down the Herreid Roadhouse Bar and Grill in 2015 for insurance money. She is the last to be sentenced.

The American News reports that Wolski earlier pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to commit arson. She was recently sentenced to one year in prison with 10 months suspended and fined $104. She’ll be on probation for two years.

West Virginia Man Sentenced for Fraudulent Insurance Claims

A West Virginia man has been sentenced to one year and nine months in federal prison for filing false insurance claims totaling more than $354,000.

Thirty-six-year-old Daniel Lichtman of Kearneysville was sentenced for mail fraud Tuesday in federal court in Martinsburg. Lichtman was ordered to pay full restitution.

He was accused of making fraudulent business insurance claims for damages to equipment from power surges that didn’t occur. Authorities say he also created false invoices for repairs and used fictitious names.

Prosecutors say the crime occurred in November 2013 in Berkeley County.

$1.8M Workers’ Comp Scam Leads to the Arrest of Florida Company Owner

The owner of a Florida construction company has been arrested after a workers’ compensation fraud investigation revealed that he allegedly used various local money service businesses to cash checks in an alleged attempt to illegally conceal his total payroll from his workers’ compensation insurance provider to avoid higher premium costs.

According to Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, investigators discovered Jeovane Felizardo, owner of JJF Construction Services, LLC, provided false payroll totals to his workers’ compensation provider and misrepresented his employee’s class codes. Felizardo reported his total payroll to be $76,799 when signing up for his policy. Based on the declared payroll amount and the reported employee class codes, Felizardo’s insurance company determined the premium for his workers’ compensation policy to be $24,894.

After further investigation by the Bureau of Insurance Fraud, Investigators found that Felizardo cashed a minimum of 540 checks from April 16, 2016 to April 16, 2017 all issued by contractors doing business with JJF Construction Services totaling $5,929,534. The contractors confirmed that the checks issued were only to cover labor costs and not any material costs associated.

Felizardo’s failure to accurately report payroll and class codes to his insurer resulted in a gross underpayment of insurance premiums. Had the actual amount of Felizardo’s payroll and proper class codes been reported to his worker’s compensation provider the resulting premium rate would have been $1,841,137, a difference of $1,816,243.

Felizardo was arrested January 12, 2018 at his place of residence and transported to the Duval County Jail without incident. Felizardo has been charged with workers compensation fraud and scheme to defraud.

If convicted, Felizardo could face up to 60 years in prison.

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