Okla. Employment Service Owners Convicted of Workers’ Comp Fraud

A federal jury in Oklahoma convicted the owners of a Norman employment service of defrauding businesses by billing them for workers’ compensation insurance coverage that didn’t exist.

The panel found Justin Bruner, 36, of Norman, and Paul W. Voyles Jr., 66, of Oklahoma City, guilty of mail fraud but jurors were unable to reach verdicts on three counts of knowingly filing false employment tax returns against Bruner.

The men’s professional employment organization, Fairway Employment Services, provided small businesses with employment-related services, such as keeping track of payroll, paying employment taxes and providing workers’ compensation insurance, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.

Voyles was responsible for securing the workers’ compensation through his independent insurance agency, Great States Insurance.

The men were accused of causing Fairway to send invoices to client companies for workers’ compensation coverage from late February 2001 to mid-June 2001 when they knew Fairway didn’t have such insurance.

After Fairway received notice that it didn’t have coverage through Great American Insurance Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio, Voyles sent invalid and unauthorized certificates of workers’ compensation insurance to client companies.

Bruner, who was president of Fairway, and Voyles knew their company never paid premiums for workers’ compensation coverage to any insurer during the relevant time period, prosecutors alleged. They sent fraudulent invoices for workers’ compensation fees to May Drilling in Perry in June 2001.

The men could face five years in prison on each conviction and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.

A federal judge will sentence the men in about 90 days.